Agreement in Histological Assessment of Mitotic Activity Between Microscopy and Digital Whole Slide Images Informs Conversion for Clinical Diagnosis

Bih Rong Wei, Charles H. Halsey, Shelley B. Hoover, Munish Puri, Howard H. Yang, Brandon D. Gallas, Maxwell P. Lee, Weijie Chen, Amy C. Durham, Jennifer E. Dwyer, Melissa D. Sánchez, Ryan P. Traslavina, Chad Frank, Charles Bradley, Lawrence D. McGill, D. Glen Esplin, Paula A. Schaffer, Sarah D. Cramer, L. Tiffany Lyle, Jessica BeckElizabeth Buza, Qi Gong, Stephen M. Hewitt, R. Mark Simpson

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Validating digital pathology as substitute for conventional microscopy in diagnosis remains a priority to assure effectiveness. Intermodality concordance studies typically focus on achieving the same diagnosis by digital display of whole slide images and conventional microscopy. Assessment of discrete histological features in whole slide images, such as mitotic figures, has not been thoroughly evaluated in diagnostic practice. To further gauge the interchangeability of conventional microscopy with digital display for primary diagnosis, 12 pathologists examined 113 canine naturally occurring mucosal melanomas exhibiting a wide range of mitotic activity. Design reflected diverse diagnostic settings and investigated independent location, interpretation, and enumeration of mitotic figures. Intermodality agreement was assessed employing conventional microscopy (CM40×), and whole slide image specimens scanned at 20× (WSI20×) and at 40× (WSI40×) objective magnifications. An aggregate 1647 mitotic figure count observations were available from conventional microscopy and whole slide images for comparison. The intraobserver concordance rate of paired observations was 0.785 to 0.801; interobserver rate was 0.784 to 0.794. Correlation coefficients between the 2 digital modes, and as compared to conventional microscopy, were similar and suggest noninferiority among modalities, including whole slide image acquired at lower 20× resolution. As mitotic figure counts serve for prognostic grading of several tumor types, including melanoma, 6 of 8 pathologists retrospectively predicted survival prognosis using whole slide images, compared to 9 of 10 by conventional microscopy, a first evaluation of whole slide image for mitotic figure prognostic grading. This study demonstrated agreement of replicate reads obtained across conventional microscopy and whole slide images. Hence, quantifying mitotic figures served as surrogate histological feature with which to further credential the interchangeability of whole slide images for primary diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalAcademic Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer grading
  • digital pathology
  • informatics
  • prognosis
  • reproducibility study
  • technology adoption
  • training
  • validation


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