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Lab Invest. 2019 Jan;99(1):107-117. doi: 10.1038/s41374-018-0123-7. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Ki67 reproducibility using digital image analysis: an inter-platform and inter-operator study.

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Department of Pathology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Precision Oncology, Sanofi US Services Inc, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Department of Pathology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


Ki67 expression has been a valuable prognostic variable in breast cancer, but has not seen broad adoption due to lack of standardization between institutions. Automation could represent a solution. Here we investigate the reproducibility of Ki67 measurement between three image analysis platforms with supervised classifiers performed by the same operator, by multiple operators, and finally we compare their accuracy in prognostic potential. Two breast cancer patient cohorts were used for this study. The standardization was done with the 30 cases of ER+ breast cancer that were used in phase 3 of International Ki67 in Breast Cancer Working Group initiatives where blocks were centrally cut and stained for Ki67. The outcome cohort was from 149 breast cancer cases from the Yale Pathology archives. A tissue microarray was built from representative tissue blocks with median follow-up of 120 months. The Mib-1 antibody (Dako) was used to detect Ki67 (dilution 1:100). HALO (IndicaLab), QuantCenter (3DHistech), and QuPath (open source software) digital image analysis (DIA) platforms were used to evaluate Ki67 expression. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to measure reproducibility. Between-DIA platform reproducibility was excellent (ICC: 0.933, CI: 0.879-0.966). Excellent reproducibility was found between all DIA platforms and the reference standard Ki67 values of Spectrum Webscope (QuPath-Spectrum Webscope ICC: 0.970, CI: 0.936-0.986; HALO-Spectrum Webscope ICC: 0.968, CI: 0.933-0.985; QuantCenter-Spectrum Webscope ICC: 0.964, CI: 0.919-0.983). All platforms showed excellent intra-DIA reproducibility (QuPath ICC: 0.992, CI: 0.986-0.996; HALO ICC: 0.972, CI: 0.924-0.988; QuantCenter ICC: 0.978, CI: 0.932-0.991). Comparing each DIA against outcome, the hazard ratios were similar. The inter-operator reproducibility was particularly high (ICC: 0.962-0.995). Our results showed outstanding reproducibility both within and between-DIA platforms, including one freely available DIA platform (QuPath). We also found the platforms essentially indistinguishable with respect to prediction of breast cancer patient outcome. Results justify multi-institutional DIA studies to assess clinical utility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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