Despite several studies focusing on the validation of whole slide imaging (WSI) across organ systems or subspecialties, the use of WSI for specific primary diagnosis tasks has been underexamined.
To assess pathologist performance for the histologic subtyping of individual sections of ovarian carcinomas using the light microscope and WSI.
A panel of 3 experienced gynecologic pathologists provided reference subtype diagnoses for 212 histologic sections from 109 ovarian carcinomas based on optical microscopy review. Two additional attending pathologists provided diagnoses and also identified the presence of a set of 8 histologic features important for ovarian tumor subtyping. Two experienced gynecologic pathologists and 2 fellows reviewed the corresponding WSI images for subtype classification and feature identification.
Across pathologists specialized in gynecologic pathology, concordance with the reference diagnosis for the 5 major ovarian carcinoma subtypes was significantly higher for a pathologist reading on microscope than each of 2 pathologists reading on WSI. Differences were primarily due to more frequent classification of mucinous carcinomas as endometrioid with WSI. Pathologists had generally low agreement in identifying histologic features important to ovarian tumor subtype classification, with either optical microscopy or WSI. This result suggests the need for refined histologic criteria for identifying such features. Interobserver agreement was particularly low for identifying intracytoplasmic mucin with WSI. Inconsistencies in evaluating nuclear atypia and mitoses with WSI were also observed.
Further research is needed to specify the reasons for these diagnostic challenges and to inform users and manufacturers of WSI technology.
The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.