Digital quantification of precursor frequency in the fallopian tube and its significance

Jonathan G. Bijron, Gang Ning, Anna R. Laury, Charles M. Quick, Rebecca A. Betensky, Nicolas M. Monte, Emily King, Frank D. McKeon, Wa Xian, Christopher P. Crum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A high frequency of precursor lesions is a risk factor for cancer in many organ systems but must be precisely quantified. Pelvic serous neoplasia is associated with an estimated increase in frequency of secretory cell outgrowths (SCOUTs) with loss of PAX2 protein (PAX2p) expression (PAX2p-null SCOUTs) in the fallopian tube. However, to confirm this, PAX2p-null SCOUTs must be precisely quantified relative to the epithelial surface. We developed a method by which fallopian tube sections were digitized using an iScan brightfield scanner (BioImagene) and uploaded in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended. Pixel length was translated into microns and epithelial length measured with the Magic Wand tool. SCOUTs were expressed as a function of total epithelial perimeter. Frequency, required perimeter length, topographic clustering tendency and effects of age were ascertained. SCOUT frequency per 10 cm was 0-4.60 for cases and 0-1.66 for controls, averaging 0.84 and 0.27, respectively, (P0.007). Required perimeter length for SCOUT detection was less in serous cancer cases and topographic distribution followed a random pattern without aberrant clustering. Age was also associated with SCOUT frequency (P0.025) and differences between cancers and controls were still significant after adjusting for age (P0.001). We describe an efficient method for quantifying epithelial perimeter in the fallopian tube and verify its relevance to precursor frequency. This has important implications for assessing precursor frequency both in the fallopian tube and in other organs - such as prostate, pancreas and colon - where epithelial precursors are integral to carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1654-1661
Number of pages8
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • fallopian tube
  • precancer
  • secretory cell
  • serous cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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