Validation of mitotic cell quantification via microscopy and multiple whole-slide scanners

Kazuhiro Tabata, Naohiro Uraoka, Jamal Benhamida, Matthew G. Hanna, Sahussapont Joseph Sirintrapun, Brandon D. Gallas, Qi Gong, Rania G. Aly, Katsura Emoto, Kant M. Matsuda, Meera R. Hameed, David S. Klimstra, Yukako Yagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The establishment of whole-slide imaging (WSI) as a medical diagnostic device allows that pathologists may evaluate mitotic activity with this new technology. Furthermore, the image digitalization provides an opportunity to develop algorithms for automatic quantifications, ideally leading to improved reproducibility as compared to the naked eye examination by pathologists. In order to implement them effectively, accuracy of mitotic figure detection using WSI should be investigated. In this study, we aimed to measure pathologist performance in detecting mitotic figures (MFs) using multiple platforms (multiple scanners) and compare the results with those obtained using a brightfield microscope. Methods: Four slides of canine oral melanoma were prepared and digitized using 4 WSI scanners. In these slides, 40 regions of interest (ROIs) were demarcated, and five observers identified the MFs using different viewing modes: microscopy and WSI. We evaluated the inter- and intra-observer agreements between modes with Cohen's Kappa and determined "true" MFs with a consensus panel. We then assessed the accuracy (agreement with truth) using the average of sensitivity and specificity. Results: In the 40 ROIs, 155 candidate MFs were detected by five pathologists; 74 of them were determined to be true MFs. Inter- and intra-observer agreement was mostly "substantial" or greater (Kappa = 0.594-0.939). Accuracy was between 0.632 and 0.843 across all readers and modes. After averaging over readers for each modality, we found that mitosis detection accuracy for 3 of the 4 WSI scanners was significantly less than that of the microscope (p = 0.002, 0.012, and 0.001). Conclusions: This study is the first to compare WSIs and microscopy in detecting MFs at the level of individual cells. Our results suggest that WSI can be used for mitotic cell detection and offers similar reproducibility to the microscope, with slightly less accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalDiagnostic Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 26


  • Microscopy
  • Mitotic cell quantification
  • Multiple whole slide scanner
  • Validation study
  • Whole slide imaging
  • eeDAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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