Molecular classification of diseases based on multigene expression signatures is increasingly used for diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction of response to therapy. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is an optimal method for validating expression signatures obtained using high-throughput genomics techniques since IHC allows a pathologist to examine gene expression at the protein level within the context of histologically interpretable tissue sections. Additionally, validated IHC assays may be readily implemented as clinical tests since IHC is performed on routinely processed clinical tissue samples. However, methods have not been available for automated n-gene expression profiling at the protein level using IHC data. We have developed methods to compute expression level maps (signature maps) of multiple genes from IHC data digitized on a commercial whole slide imaging system. Areas of cancer for these expression level maps are defined by a pathologist on adjacent, co-registered H&E slides, allowing assessment of IHC statistics and heterogeneity within the diseased tissue. This novel way of representing multiple IHC assays as signature maps will allow the development of n-gene expression profiling databases in three dimensions throughout virtual whole organ reconstructions.
Metzger, G. J., Dankbar, S. C., Henriksen, J., Rizzardi, A. E., Rosener, N. K., & Schmechel, S. C. (2012). Development of multigene expression signature maps at the protein level from digitized immunohistochemistry slides. PLoS ONE, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033520