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Nat Biotechnol. 2005 Apr;23(4):469-74. Epub 2005 Mar 27.

Infrared spectroscopic imaging for histopathologic recognition.

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Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-0520, USA.


The process of histopathology, comprising tissue staining and morphological pattern recognition, has remained largely unchanged for over 140 years. Although it is integral to clinical and research activities, histopathologic recognition remains a time-consuming, subjective process to which only limited statistical confidence can be assigned because of inherent operator variability. Although immunohistochemical approaches allow limited molecular detection, significant challenges remain in using them for quantitative, automated pathology. Vibrational spectroscopic approaches, by contrast, directly provide nonperturbing molecular descriptors, but a practical spectroscopic protocol for histopathology is lacking. Here we couple high-throughput Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic imaging of tissue microarrays with statistical pattern recognition of spectra indicative of endogenous molecular composition and demonstrate histopathologic characterization of prostatic tissue. This automated histologic segmentation is applied to routine archival tissue samples, incorporates well-defined tests of statistical significance and eliminates any requirement for dyes or molecular probes. Finally, we differentiate benign from malignant prostatic epithelium by spectroscopic analyses.

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