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Automated system for scoring hematoxylin and eosin-stained ovarian cancer sections by identifying single cells uncovered that stromal cell ratio is a significant predictor for overall survival and progression-free survival.

Concerted efforts in genomic studies have revealed profound insights in prognostic ovarian cancer subtypes. On the other hand, abundant histology slides have been generated to date, yet their uses remain very limited and largely qualitative. Our goal is to develop automated histology analysis as an alternative subtyping technology for ovarian cancer that is cost-efficient and do not rely on DNA quality. We develop an automated system for scoring hematoxylin and eosin-stained (H&E) primary tumour sections of 91 late-stage ovarian cancer to identify single cells including cancer and stromal cells. We demonstrated high accuracy of our system based on expert pathologists’ scores (cancer=97.1%, stromal=89.1%) as well as compared to immunohistochemistry scoring (correlation=0.87). Quantitative stromal cell ratio is significantly associated with poor overall survival after controlling for clinical parameters including debulking status and age (multivariate analysis p=0.0021, HR=2.54, CI=1.40-4.60) and progression-free survival (multivariate analysis p=0.022, HR=1.75, CI=1.09–2.82). We demonstrate how automated image analysis enables objective quantification of microenvironmental composition of ovarian tumours. Our analysis reveals a strong effect of the tumour microenvironment on ovarian cancer progression and highlights the potential of therapeutic interventions that target the stromal compartment or cancer-stroma signalling in the stroma-high, late-stage ovarian cancer subset.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00010000881 Aperio 91
Publications Citations
Quantitative histology analysis of the ovarian tumour microenvironment.
Sci Rep 5: 2015 16317
Analysis of tumour ecological balance reveals resource-dependent adaptive strategies of ovarian cancer.
EBioMedicine 48: 2019 224-235