Quantification of Tumour and Stroma Cell Content within Laser Microdissection (LMD) Tissue
10 April 2019
By Hannah Thomson

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 88,000 new cases of gynecologic cancer are diagnosed per year in the U.S., and over 29,000 American women will lose their battle with this deadly disease. Over the past 12 months, OracleBio has supported work lead by Dr. Tom Conrads and Dr. Nick Bateman at the Women’s Health Integrated Research Center (WHIRC) in Annandale, VA, in their research of gynaecologic cancers. Their group utilizes Laser microdissection (LMD) to enable decoupled molecular profiling analyses of tumour and non-tumor cells not otherwise possible using routine methods.

Activities between the 2 groups resulted in a joint poster presentation at the recent AACR congress in Atlanta Georgia highlighting work conducted by WHIRC postdoctoral fellow Dr. Allison Hunt, which evaluated the compositional heterogeneity of high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSOC) and the complex admixture of cells that comprise the tumour microenvironment. This study was conducted to demonstrate that histology combined with digital image analysis can be utilized to quantify tumour and stroma cell content within LMD-enriched regions of interest (ROI). An example of the workflow is shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1: LMD and Digital Image Analyses Workflow

Generating Valuable Tumour and Stroma Cell Data

Data generated from the co-registered post-LMD dissected area ROI within H&E sections, serial to the LMD tissues, is highlighted in Figure 2. Both the number of cells per mm2 and the average nucleus area was seen to be significantly less in the enriched stroma areas versus the tumour areas.

This study highlights the successful use of histology combined with digital image analysis to quantify tumour and stroma cell numbers within HGSOC tissue subjected to LMD.

Figure 2: Enriched Tumour and Stroma ROI
Dr Bateman commented:

“Complimentary digital pathology data generated from this study has enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of the tumour and stromal cell populations within LMD-enriched ROI from HGSOC tissues. Additionally, proteogenomic analyses of LMD-enriched tumour and stromal cell populations will support further understanding of potential correlations between these cell types within the tumour microenvironment of HGSOC. Future work will look to increase the value of data generated via digital pathology techniques including multiplex/high plex IF staining and cell spatial contexture analysis.”

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