Automated image analysis in histopathology: a valuable tool in medical diagnostics

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2008 Nov;8(6):707-25. doi: 10.1586/14737159.8.6.707.


Virtual pathology, the process of assessing digital images of histological slides, is gaining momentum in today's laboratory environment. Indeed, digital image acquisition systems are becoming commonplace, and associated image analysis solutions are viewed by most as the next critical step in automated histological analysis. Here, we document the advances in the technology, with reference to past and current techniques in histological assessment. In addition, the demand for these technologies is analyzed with major players profiled. As there are several image analysis software programs focusing on the quantification of immunohistochemical staining, particular attention is paid to this application in this review. Oncology has been a primary target area for these approaches, with example studies in this therapeutic area being covered here. Toxicology-based image analysis solutions are also profiled as these are steadily increasing in popularity, especially within the pharmaceutical industry. Reinforced by the phenomenal growth of the virtual pathology field, it is envisioned that the market for automated image analysis tools will greatly expand over the next 10 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Technology
  • Computers
  • Diagnostic Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Medical Laboratory Science / instrumentation*
  • Medical Laboratory Science / methods*