Evaluation of immunohistochemical staining using whole-slide imaging for HER2 scoring of breast cancer in comparison with real glass slides

Pathol Int. 2012 Sep;62(9):592-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1827.2012.02847.x.


Whole-slide imaging (WSI) has been used for education and histological image preservation, and several studies have also reported its validity for practical pathological diagnosis. However, such studies employed materials stained with hematoxylin-eosin (HE), and very few attempts have been made to use immunohistochemically stained materials for diagnostic purposes. In the present study, we investigated the availability of WSI diagnosis for immunohistochemically stained materials in place of routine glass slides. Thirty pathologists participated in a trial of HER2 expression diagnosis using WSI and compared the results with those obtained by light microscopy. The validity of WSI diagnosis (interobserver agreement) was rated as 'substantial' in comparison with glass slide diagnosis (κ-value = 0.719). There was a tendency for observers to assign higher scores with WSI than with glass slides, probably because WSI requires slides to be scanned into a computer and observed via a monitor. Although we were able to demonstrate the potential utility of WSI for diagnosing immunostained materials, it must be borne in mind that there are some differences in visualization between WSI and glass slides.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apocrine Glands / metabolism
  • Apocrine Glands / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods*
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Pathology, Surgical / methods
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2