Digital imaging in pathology: whole-slide imaging and beyond

Annu Rev Pathol. 2013 Jan 24;8:331-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-011811-120902. Epub 2012 Nov 15.


Digital imaging in pathology has undergone an exponential period of growth and expansion catalyzed by changes in imaging hardware and gains in computational processing. Today, digitization of entire glass slides at near the optical resolution limits of light can occur in 60 s. Whole slides can be imaged in fluorescence or by use of multispectral imaging systems. Computational algorithms have been developed for cytometric analysis of cells and proteins in subcellular locations by use of multiplexed antibody staining protocols. Digital imaging is unlocking the potential to integrate primary image features into high-dimensional genomic assays by moving microscopic analysis into the digital age. This review highlights the emerging field of digital pathology and explores the methods and analytic approaches being developed for the application and use of these methods in clinical care and research settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / standards
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results