Volume 57, Issue 2 p030098581989068 (2019)
Mitotic count (MC) is an important element for grading canine cutaneous mast cell tumors (ccMCTs) and is determined in 10 consecutive high-power fields with the highest mitotic activity. However, there is variability in area selection between pathologists. In this study, the MC distribution and the effect of area selection on the MC were analyzed in ccMCTs. Two pathologists independently annotated all mitotic figures in whole-slide images of 28 ccMCTs (ground truth). Automated image analysis was used to examine the ground truth distribution of the MC throughout the tumor section area, which was compared with the manual MCs of 11 pathologists. Computerized analysis demonstrated high variability of the MC within different tumor areas. There were 6 MCTs with consistently low MCs (MC<7 in all tumor areas), 13 cases with mostly high MCs (MC ≥7 in ≥75% of 10 high-power field areas), and 9 borderline cases with variable MCs around 7, which is a cutoff value for ccMCT grading. There was inconsistency among pathologists in identifying the areas with the highest density of mitotic figures throughout the 3 ccMCT groups; only 51.9% of the counts were consistent with the highest 25% of the ground truth MC distribution. Regardless, there was substantial agreement between pathologists in detecting tumors with MC ≥7. Falsely low MCs below 7 mainly occurred in 4 of 9 borderline cases that had very few ground truth areas with MC ≥7. The findings of this study highlight the need to further standardize how to select the region of the tumor in which to determine the MC.
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