Substantial improvement of histopathological diagnosis by whole-slide image-based remote consultation

Shizu Shinohara, Andrey Bychkov, Jijgee Munkhdelger, Kishio Kuroda, Han Seung Yoon, Shota Fujimura, Kazuhiro Tabata, Bungo Furusato, Daisuke Niino, Shinpei Morimoto, Takashi Yao, Tomoo Itoh, Hajime Aoyama, Naoko Tsuyama, Yoshiki Mikami, Toshitaka Nagao, Tohru Ikeda, Noriyoshi Fukushima, Oi Harada, Takako KiyokawaNaoki Yoshimi, Shinichi Aishima, Ichiro Maeda, Ichiro Mori, Koji Yamanegi, Koichi Tsuneyama, Ryohei Katoh, Miki Izumi, Yoshinao Oda, Junya Fukuoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Consultation by subspecialty experts is the most common mode of rendering diagnosis in challenging cases in pathological practice. Our study aimed to highlight the diagnostic benefits of whole-slide image (WSI)-based remote consultation. We obtained diagnostically challenging cases from two institutions from the years 2010 and 2013, with histological diagnoses that contained keywords “probable,” “suggestive,” “suspicious,” “inconclusive,” and “uncertain.” A total of 270 cases were selected for remote consultation using WSIs scanned at 40 ×. The consultation process consisted of three rounds: the first and second rounds each with 12 subspecialty experts and the third round with six multi-expertise senior pathologists. The first consultation yielded 44% concordance, and a change in diagnosis occurred in 56% of cases. The most frequent change was from inconclusive to definite diagnosis (30%), followed by minor discordance (14%), and major discordance (12%). Out of the 70 cases which reached the second round, 31 cases showed discrepancy between the two consultants. For these 31 cases, a consensus diagnosis was provided by six multi-expertise senior pathologists. Combining all WSI-based consultation rounds, the original inconclusive diagnosis was changed in 140 (52%) out of 266 cases. Among these cases, 80 cases (30%) upgraded the inconclusive diagnosis to a definite diagnosis, and 60 cases (22%) changed the diagnosis with major or minor discordance, accounting for 28 cases (10%) and 32 cases (12%), respectively. We observed significant improvement in the pathological diagnosis of difficult cases by remote consultation using WSIs, which can further assist in patient healthcare. A post-study survey highlighted various benefits of WSI-based consults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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