Manual assessment of biomarker expression is associated with significant inter- and intra reader variability. In some cases there are also limitations when it comes to sensitivity and specificity of manual biomarker assessment.
In one example to the left, the “pure” contribution of inter-reader variability associated with Ki67 assessment was quantified across 20 tumors and 126 participating labs. In that study, it was demonstrated how image analysis can be used to significantly reduce inter-reader variability.
In a another study, the National Danish Validation study of Her2, it was demonstrated how improved sensitivity/specificity of quantitative HER2 protein expression wrt gene amplification lead to significant cost savings in reflex testing.
By automating aspects of stain quality control, it will become scalable to he point where EQA organizations may be able and willing to offer more frequent – perhaps even on-demand – proficiency testing and calibration services.
It is possible that objective and quantitative standards will contribute to improve compliance with protocol recommendations.
In clinical multi-center trials it will be easier to standardize and monitor data from each center.
And it is our hope tha larger diagnostic pathology labs will be able to benefit from such a method by closely monitoring drift in staining quality for biomarkers.