The Application of Digital Pathology to Improve Accuracy in Glomerular Enumeration in Renal Biopsies.

Journal Article (Clinical Trial;Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: In renal biopsy reporting, quantitative measurements, such as glomerular number and percentage of globally sclerotic glomeruli, is central to diagnostic accuracy and prognosis. The aim of this study is to determine the number of glomeruli and percent globally sclerotic in renal biopsies by means of registration of serial tissue sections and manual enumeration, compared to the numbers in pathology reports from routine light microscopic assessment. DESIGN: We reviewed 277 biopsies from the Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE) digital pathology repository, enumerating 9,379 glomeruli by means of whole slide imaging. Glomerular number and the percentage of globally sclerotic glomeruli are values routinely recorded in the official renal biopsy pathology report from the 25 participating centers. Two general trends in reporting were noted: total number per biopsy or average number per level/section. Both of these approaches were assessed for their accuracy in comparison to the analogous numbers of annotated glomeruli on WSI. RESULTS: The number of glomeruli annotated was consistently higher than those reported (p<0.001); this difference was proportional to the number of glomeruli. In contrast, percent globally sclerotic were similar when calculated on total glomeruli, but greater in FSGS when calculated on average number of glomeruli (p<0.01). The difference in percent globally sclerotic between annotated and those recorded in pathology reports was significant when global sclerosis is greater than 40%. CONCLUSIONS: Although glass slides were not available for direct comparison to whole slide image annotation, this study indicates that routine manual light microscopy assessment of number of glomeruli is inaccurate, and the magnitude of this error is proportional to the total number of glomeruli.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosenberg, AZ; Palmer, M; Merlino, L; Troost, JP; Gasim, A; Bagnasco, S; Avila-Casado, C; Johnstone, D; Hodgin, JB; Conway, C; Gillespie, BW; Nast, CC; Barisoni, L; Hewitt, SM

Published Date

  • 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 6

Start / End Page

  • e0156441 -

PubMed ID

  • 27310011

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4911144

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0156441


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States