PHD candidate Madeline Gough, Mater Health Service, Brisbane at the IAP conference in 2022

Digital Pathology and Breast Cancer

Digital pathology is an incredibly exciting tool at the forefront of modern in vitro diagnostic technology, particularly when diagnosing cancer.

Traditional 'manual' approaches (involving microscopes and handling glass slides) are being improved by integrating vastly more efficient means of capturing digital images and diagnosing these with the assistance of image analysis software. 

Taking breast cancer alone, we can see the huge potential IVD image analysis algorithms have in saving pathologists' time. Some 20,428 Australian women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022. So prevalent is the cancer, it accounted for approximately the same number of the 'next three-most-frequently diagnosed' cancers in 2022 (20,428 vs. 21,617, Reference 1). 

Algorithm-assisted diagnostics

These figures give some context to exciting new research published by Australian medical scientist Madeline Gough. The video below shows Professor Cameron Snell and Madeline Gough presenting to the XXXIV International Congress of the International Academy of Pathology. In the video they detail results of their Australian study into applying digital pathology techniques of breast cancer tissue samples (algorithm-assisted assessment of HER2 ISH samples).

Taking archived samples from a 'retrospective cohort' of cancer patients, the study then tasked various pathologists to grade (score) some 99 breast cancer tissue slides using manual (microscope) and digital (algorithm-assisted) methods. After statistical analysis, the report found an effective reduction in the difference in measurement between different pathologists for the same sample(s) (interobserver variability).

As such, digital pathology was found to show “potential to improve therapy selection and outcomes for patients with HER2-low and borderline HER2-amplified breast cancers”. These exciting results were presented to delegates across all major areas of diagnostic, translational, molecular, and investigative pathology during a morning symposium in October 2022 at the International Congress of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP).

IAP Symposium - Dr Cameron Snell and Madeline Gough
View the research paper

As a platinum sponsor of IAP, Roche took the opportunity to record this breakfast symposium in the video above and reinforce how Roche is a global leader in digital pathology. We continue to invest in advancing pathology workflows, with end-to-end solutions for the anatomical pathology laboratory-from stain, to scan, to analysis. 

As described in the video, the study utilised diagnostic instruments supplied by Roche Diagnostics Australia, including the BenchMark ULTRA (predecessor to the BenchMark ULTRA PLUS) and uPath enterprise software IVD image analysis algorithm. 

Below is the link where you can read this research paper titled “Improved concordance of challenging human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 dual in-situ hybridization cases with the use of a digital image analysis algorithm in breast cancer.”

BENCHMARK and UPATH are trademarks of Roche.




Reference 1 -,are%20diagnosed%20with%20breast%20cancer (Last accessed 11/5/23)