. 2019 Aug; 10:21.
doi: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_27_19.

The Landscape of Digital Pathology in Transplantation: From the Beginning to the Virtual E-Slide

Ilaria Girolami 1 Anil Parwani 2 Valeria Barresi 1 Stefano Marletta 1 Serena Ammendola 1 Lavinia Stefanizzi 1 Luca Novelli 3 Arrigo Capitanio 4 Matteo Brunelli 1 Liron Pantanowitz 5 Albino Eccher 1 
  • PMID: 31367473
  •     104 References
  •     4 citations


Background: Digital pathology has progressed over the last two decades, with many clinical and nonclinical applications. Transplantation pathology is a highly specialized field in which the majority of practicing pathologists do not have sufficient expertise to handle critical needs. In this context, digital pathology has proven to be useful as it allows for timely access to expert second-opinion teleconsultation. The aim of this study was to review the experience of the application of digital pathology to the field of transplantation.

Methods: Papers on this topic were retrieved using PubMed as a search engine. Inclusion criteria were the presence of transplantation setting and the use of any type of digital image with or without the use of image analysis tools; the search was restricted to English language papers published in the 25 years until December 31, 2018.

Results: Literature regarding digital transplant pathology is mostly about the digital interpretation of posttransplant biopsies (75 vs. 19), with 15/75 (20%) articles focusing on agreement/reproducibility. Several papers concentrated on the correlation between biopsy features assessed by digital image analysis (DIA) and clinical outcome (45/75, 60%). Whole-slide imaging (WSI) only appeared in recent publications, starting from 2011 (13/75, 17.3%). Papers dealing with preimplantation biopsy are less numerous, the majority (13/19, 68.4%) of which focus on diagnostic agreement between digital microscopy and light microscopy (LM), with WSI technology being used in only a small quota of papers (4/19, 21.1%).

Conclusions: Overall, published studies show good concordance between digital microscopy and LM modalities for diagnosis. DIA has the potential to increase diagnostic reproducibility and facilitate the identification and quantification of histological parameters. Thus, with advancing technology such as faster scanning times, better image resolution, and novel image algorithms, it is likely that WSI will eventually replace LM.

Keywords: Digital pathology; donor biopsy; graft biopsy; image analysis; transplantation.

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