Whole-slide imaging of pap cellblock preparations is a potentially valid screening method

Ossama Tawfik, Marilyn Davis, Susan Dillon, Laila Tawfik, Francisco J. Diaz, Khalid Amin, Fang Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To date, the impact of digital imaging on routine cytology remains far from perfect. Cellblock (CB) preparations from Pap samples have been shown to be diagnostically valuable. We evaluated the validity of utilizing whole-slide imaging (WSI) prepared from Pap CBs as a screening tool. Study Design: A total of 1,110 CB slides prepared from residual Pap samples were analyzed - 563 normal, 282 atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS), 12 atypical squamous cells-cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, 188 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL), 36 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), 25 atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance, 1 adenocarcinoma in situ, 2 invasive adenocarcinomas, and 1 squamous cell carcinoma. Virtual slides were obtained using the Aperio system. Test performance characteristics of liquid-based samples and WSI from CB samples were compared. Results: Average sensitivity and specificity of the five WSI reviewers was 58.3 and 85.1% for ASCUS, respectively, 54.1 and 93.9% for LSIL, and 51.8 and 98.8% for HSIL. Overall WSI sensitivity and specificity for detecting lesions was 82.1 and 86.2%, respectively. Agreement (kappa values) between WSI reviewers was 0.56 for ASCUS, 0.69 for LSIL, 0.67 for HSIL, and 0.74 for negative samples. Conclusions: WSI of CB preparations is a feasible method to achieve high-quality specimen preparations. It is as sensitive as liquid-based methods and appears to be highly specific for the detection of LSIL and HSIL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-200
Number of pages14
JournalActa cytologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance
  • Cellblock preparations
  • Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion
  • Pap test
  • Whole-slide imaging


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