Artificial Intelligence versus immunohistochemistry

Pathologists often use immunohistochemistry (IHC) to confirm what we already know, or strongly suspect from the H&E slide. AI can now assist us in a similar way such as identifying a tiny focus of cancer in a gastric biopsy, for which we might use a cytokeratin immunostain for confirmation.

Like IHC it will allow us to confirm and communicate a suspicion or a complex pattern which may be otherwise difficult to convey in words, using more objective terminology. Like IHC this will benefit us, and ultimately the patient. When IHC emerged some thought this technology would replace pathologists, and there were similar predictions with the advent of the cancer genomes project and predictive molecular testing.
We should not be intimidated or concerned by this development. It’s just another powerful diagnostic tool to augment human diagnosticians. If we use it sensibly it will further reinforce the critical importance of our speciality in the cancer diagnostic pathway.

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