The evaluation of colon biopsies using virtual microscopy is reliable

R. van der Post, J. van der Laak, B. Sturm, R. Clarijs, E. Schaafsma, H. van Krieken and M. Nap

Histopathology 2013;63:114-121.

DOI Cited by ~21

Aims: Virtual microscopy offers major advantages for pathology practice, separating slide evaluation from slide production. The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of using whole slide images as compared with routine glass slides for diagnostic purposes. Methods and results: Colon biopsies (n = 295) were assessed using both glass slides and whole slide images by four pathologists and two residents. Two pathologists scored the digital images of biopsies in a primary diagnostic setting. For each case, the consensus diagnosis was de?ned as the majority diagnosis on the study's glass slides. All diagnoses were grouped into seven main diagnostic categories, and further divided into subgroups. The overall concor

dance rates were 89.6% for whole slide images and 91.6% for light microscopy. The concordance rates of the subgroups 'adenoma' and 'adenocarcinoma' between whole slide images and conventional microscopy showed only small variability. The intraobserver (whole slide images versus glass slide) agreement, including subgroups, was substantial, with a mean j-value of 0.78, and was higher than the interobserver agreement for glass slides (interobserver j-value of 0.69). Conclusions: This study shows good diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility for virtual microscopy, indicating that this technology can reliably be used for pathological evaluation of colon biopsies in a primary clinical setting.