Quantitative Histopathology of Stained Tissues using Color Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (cSLIM)

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Tissue biopsy evaluation in the clinic is in need of quantitative disease markers for diagnosis and, most importantly, prognosis. Among the new technologies, quantitative phase imaging (QPI) has demonstrated promise for histopathology because it reveals intrinsic tissue nanoarchitecture through the refractive index. However, a vast majority of past QPI investigations have relied on imaging unstained tissues, which disrupts the established specimen processing. Here we present color spatial light interference microscopy (cSLIM) as a new whole-slide imaging modality that performs interferometric imaging on stained tissue, with a color detector array. As a result, cSLIM yields in a single scan both the intrinsic tissue phase map and the standard color bright-field image, familiar to the pathologist. Our results on 196 breast cancer patients indicate that cSLIM can provide stain-independent prognostic information from the alignment of collagen fibers in the tumor microenvironment. The effects of staining on the tissue phase maps were corrected by a mathematical normalization. These characteristics are likely to reduce barriers to clinical translation for the new cSLIM technology.

Chenfei Hu