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05.11.2015 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2016 Open Access

Tumor Biology 4/2016

Application of multispectral imaging in quantitative immunohistochemistry study of breast cancer: a comparative study

Tumor Biology > Ausgabe 4/2016
Wen-Lou Liu, Lin-Wei Wang, Jia-Mei Chen, Jing-Ping Yuan, Qing-Ming Xiang, Gui-Fang Yang, Ai-Ping Qu, Juan Liu, Yan Li


Multispectral imaging (MSI) based on imaging and spectroscopy, as relatively novel to the field of histopathology, has been used in biomedical multidisciplinary researches. We analyzed and compared the utility of multispectral (MS) versus conventional red–green–blue (RGB) images for immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining to explore the advantages of MSI in clinical-pathological diagnosis. The MS images acquired of IHC-stained membranous marker human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), cytoplasmic marker cytokeratin5/6 (CK5/6), and nuclear marker estrogen receptor (ER) have higher resolution, stronger contrast, and more accurate segmentation than the RGB images. The total signal optical density (OD) values for each biomarker were higher in MS images than in RGB images (all P < 0.05). Moreover, receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis revealed that a greater area under the curve (AUC), higher sensitivity, and specificity in evaluation of HER2 gene were achieved by MS images (AUC = 0.91, 89.1 %, 83.2 %) than RGB images (AUC = 0.87, 84.5, and 81.8 %). There was no significant difference between quantitative results of RGB images and clinico-pathological characteristics (P > 0.05). However, by quantifying MS images, the total signal OD values of HER2 positive expression were correlated with lymph node status and histological grades (P = 0.02 and 0.04). Additionally, the consistency test results indicated the inter-observer agreement was more robust in MS images for HER2 (inter-class correlation coefficient (ICC) = 0.95, r s = 0.94), CK5/6 (ICC = 0.90, r s = 0.88), and ER (ICC = 0.94, r s = 0.94) (all P < 0.001) than that in RGB images for HER2 (ICC = 0.91, r s = 0.89), CK5/6 (ICC = 0.85, r s = 0.84), and ER (ICC = 0.90, r s = 0.89) (all P < 0.001). Our results suggest that the application of MS images in quantitative IHC analysis could obtain higher accuracy, reliability, and more information of protein expression in relation to clinico-pathological characteristics versus conventional RGB images. It may become an optimal IHC digital imaging system used in quantitative pathology.

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