The distribution of refractive indices (RIs) of a living cell contributes in a nonintuitive manner to its optical phase image and quite rarely can be inverted to recover its internal structure. The interpretation of the quantitative phase images of living cells remains a difficult task because (1) we still have very little knowledge on the impact of its internal macromolecular complexes on the local RI and (2) phase changes produced by light propagation through the sample are mixed with diffraction effects by the internal cell bodies. We propose to implement a two-dimensional wavelet-based contour chain detection method to distinguish internal boundaries based on their greatest optical path difference gradients. These contour chains correspond to the highest image phase contrast and follow the local RI inhomogeneities linked to the intracellular structural intricacy. Their statistics and spatial distribution are the morphological indicators suited for comparing cells of different origins and/or to follow their transformation in pathologic situations. We use this method to compare nonadherent blood cells from primary and laboratory culture origins and to assess the internal transformation of hematopoietic stem cells by the transduction of the BCR-ABL oncogene responsible for the chronic myelogenous leukemia.