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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 10th European Congress on Telepathology and 4th International Congress on Virtual Microscopy

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Expanding application of digital pathology in Japan - from education, telepathology to autodiagnosis

Yasunari Tsuchihashi

Author affiliations

Louis Pasteur Centre for Medical Research in Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6(Suppl 1):S19  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-S1-S19

Published: 30 March 2011



Digital pathology, i.e., applications of digital information technologies to pathology practice, has been expanding in the recent decades and the mode of pathology diagnostic practice is changing with enhanced precision. In the present study the changing processes of digital pathology in Japan were investigated and trends to future were discussed.


The changing status of digital pathology was investigated through reviewing the records of annual meetings of the Japanese Research Society of Telepathology and Pathology Informatics (JRST-PI) and of the Japanese pathology related medical and informatics journals. The results of the Japanese questionnaire survey conducted in 2008-2009 on telepathology and virtual slide were also reviewed. In addition effectiveness of an experimental automatic pathology diagnostic aid system using computer artificial intelligence was investigated by checking its rate of correct diagnosis for given prostate carcinoma digital images.


Telepathology played a central role in the development of digital pathology in Japan. Both macroscopic and microscopic pathology digital images were routinely generated and used for diagnostic purposes in major hospitals. Virtual slide (VS) digital images were used first for education then for conference, consultation and also gradually for routine diagnosis and telepathology. The experimental automatic diagnostic aid system achieved the rate of correct diagnosis around 95% for prostate carcinoma and its use for automatic mapping of cancerous areas in a given tissue image was successful.


Advance in the digital information technologies gave revolutionary impacts on pathology education, conference, consultation, diagnosis, telepathology and also on pathology diagnostic procedures in Japan. The future will be bright for pathologists by the advanced digital pathology but we should pay attention to make the technologies and their effects under our control.