Quantitative Image Analysis Gives More Power to the Pathologist

Images courtesy of G. Méhes, University of Pécs, Hungary "As is our pathology, so is our practice... what the pathologist thinks today, the physician does tomorrow." --Sir William Osler (1849-1919)1 A woman visits her gynecologist for her annual Pap smear. The doctor takes a cervical swab and tells the patient that the results will be back in a few days. Now the woman waits and wonders, "Could I be sick, and not even know it?" The answer will come from the doctor by way of a p

Susan Jenkins
Mar 23, 2003
Images courtesy of G. Méhes, University of Pécs, Hungary

"As is our pathology, so is our practice... what the pathologist thinks today, the physician does tomorrow."

--Sir William Osler (1849-1919)1

A woman visits her gynecologist for her annual Pap smear. The doctor takes a cervical swab and tells the patient that the results will be back in a few days. Now the woman waits and wonders, "Could I be sick, and not even know it?" The answer will come from the doctor by way of a pathologist, who specifies whether cancer is present, what kind it is, its developmental stage, and whether there's evidence of metastasis.

The majority of samples are normal; the pathologist needs to find the rare exceptions--the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack. Traditionally, the pathologist smears the collected cells onto a slide, stains them with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), and then painstakingly examines the slide. Based on a first...

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