Whole Slide Image Cytometry: a Novel Method to Detect Abnormal DNA Content in Barrett’s Esophagus

Yinhai Wang, Damian T. McManus, Kenneth Arthur, Brian T. Johnston, Andrew Kennedy, Helen G. Coleman, Liam J. Murray, Peter W. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a precursor of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Both low-grade dysplasia (LGD) and high-grade dysplasia (HGD) are associated with an increased risk of progression to EAC. However, histological interpretation and grading of dysplasia (particularly LGD) is subjective and poorly reproducible. This study has combined whole slide imaging with DNA image cytometry to provide a novel method for the detection of abnormal DNA content through image analysis of tissue sections. A total of 20 cases were evaluated, including 8 negative for dysplasia (NFD), 6 LGD, and 6 HGD. Feulgen-stained esophageal sections were scanned in their entirety. Barrett’s mucosa was interactively chosen for automatic nuclei segmentation where irrelevant cell types were ignored. The combined DNA content histogram for all nuclei within selected image regions was then obtained. In addition, three histogram measurements were computed, including xER-5C, 2cDI, and DNA-MG. Visual evaluation suggested the shape of DNA content histograms from NFD, LGD, and HGD cases exhibiting identifiable differences. The histogram measurements, xER-5C, 2cDI, and DNA-MG, were shown to be effective in differentiating metaplastic from dysplastic cases with statistical significance. Moreover, they also successfully separated NFD, LGD, and HGD patients with statistical significance. Whole slide image cytometry is a novel and effective method for the detection of abnormal DNA content in BE. Compared with histological review, it is more objective. Compared with flow cytometry and cytology-preparation image cytometry, it is low cost, simple to use, only requires a single 1 μm section, and facilitates selection of tissue and topographical correlation. Whole slide image cytometry can detect differences in DNA content between NFD, LGD, and HGD patients in this cross-sectional study. Abnormal DNA content detection by whole slide image cytometry is a promising biomarker of progression that could affect future diagnostics in BE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1330
Number of pages12
JournalLaboratory investigation
Early online date03 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Whole Slide Image Cytometry: a Novel Method to Detect Abnormal DNA Content in Barrett’s Esophagus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this