Jump to Content

Artificial Intelligence and Pathology: from Principles to Practice and Future Applications in Histomorphology and Molecular Profiling

Albrecht Stenzinger
Max Alber
Michael Allgäuer
Phillip Jurmeister
Michael Bockmayr
Jan Budczies
Jochen Lennerz
Johannes Eschrich
Daniel Kazdal
Peter Schirmacher
Alex H Wagner
Frank Tacke
David Capper
Frederick Klauschen
Seminars in Cancer Biology, vol. 84 (2022), pp. 129-143


The complexity of diagnostic (surgical) pathology has increased substantially over the last decades with respect to histomorphological and molecular profiling and has steadily expanded its role in tumor diagnostics and beyond from disease entity identification via prognosis estimation to precision therapy prediction. It is therefore not surprising that pathology is among the disciplines in medicine with high expectations in the application of artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning approaches given its capabilities to analyse complex data in a quantitative and standardised manner to further enhance scope and precision of diagnostics. While an obvious application is the analysis of histological images, recent applications for the analysis of molecular profiling data from different sources and clinical data support the notion that AI will support both histopathology and molecular pathology in the future. At the same time, current literature should not be misunderstood in a way that pathologists will likely be replaced by AI applications in the foreseeable future. Although AI will likely transform pathology in the coming years, recent studies reporting AI algorithms to diagnose cancer or predict certain molecular properties deal with relatively simple diagnostic problems that fall short of the diagnostic complexity pathologists face in clinical routine. Here, we review the pertinent literature of AI methods and their applications to pathology, and put the current achievements and what can be expected in the future in the context of the requirements for research and routine diagnostics.

Research Areas