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

Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Proceedings

Proliferative activity in human breast cancer: Ki-67 automated evaluation and the influence of different Ki-67 equivalent antibodies

S Fasanella12*, E Leonardi12, C Cantaloni1, C Eccher3, I Bazzanella1, D Aldovini1, E Bragantini1, L Morelli1, LV Cuorvo1, A Ferro4, F Gasperetti5, G Berlanda6, P Dalla Palma1 and M Barbareschi12

  • * Corresponding author: S Fasanella

Author Affiliations

1 Unit of Surgical Pathology, S. Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy

2 Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, S. Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy

3 Bruno Kessler Foundation, Trento, Italy

4 Unit of Medical Oncology, S. Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy

5 Unit of Surgery A, S. Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy

6 Unit of Surgery B, S. Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy

For all author emails, please log on.

Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6(Suppl 1):S7  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-S1-S7

Published: 30 March 2011



Ki67 labeling index (Ki67 LI), the percentage Ki67 immunoreactive cells, is a measure of tumor proliferation, with important clinical relevance in breast cancer, and it is extremely important to standardize its evaluation.


To test the efficacy of computer assisted image analysis (CAIA) applied to completely digitized slides and to assess its feasibility in routine practice and compare the results obtained using two different Ki67 monoclonal antibodies.

Materials and methods

315 consecutive breast cancer routinely immunostained for Ki-67 (223 with SP6 and 92 with MM1 antibodies previously examined by an experienced pathologist, have been re-evaluated using Aperio Scanscope Xs.


Mean human Ki67 LI values were 36%± 14.% and 28% ± 18% respectively for SP6 and MM1 antibodies; mean CAM Ki67 LI values were 31%± 19% and 22% ± 18% respectively for SP6 and MM1. Human and CAIA evaluation are statistically highly correlated (Pearson: 0.859, p<0.0001), although human LI are systematically higher. An interobserver variation study on CAIA performed on 84 cases showed that the correlation between the two evaluations was linear to an excellent degree.


Our study shows that a) CAIA can be easily adopted in routine practice, b) human and CAIA Ki67 LI are highly correlated, although human LI are systematically higher, c) Ki67 LI using different evaluation methods and different antibodies shows important differences in cut-off values.