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Research article2021Peer reviewed

Mitotic Figures-Normal, Atypical, and Imposters: A Guide to Identification

Donovan, Taryn A.; Moore, Frances M.; Bertram, Christof A.; Luong, Richard; Bolfa, Pompei; Klopfleisch, Robert; Tvedten, Harold; Salas, Elisa N.; Whitley, Derick B.; Aubreville, Marc; Meuten, Donald J.


Counting mitotic figures (MF) in hematoxylin and eosin-stained histologic sections is an integral part of the diagnostic pathologist's tumor evaluation. The mitotic count (MC) is used alone or as part of a grading scheme for assessment of prognosis and clinical decisions. Determining MCs is subjective, somewhat laborious, and has interobserver variation. Proposals for standardizing this parameter in the veterinary field are limited to terminology (use of the term MC) and area (MC is counted in an area measuring 2.37 mm(2)). Digital imaging techniques are now commonplace and widely used among veterinary pathologists, and field of view area can be easily calculated with digital imaging software. In addition to standardizing the methods of counting MF, the morphologic characteristics of MF and distinguishing atypical mitotic figures (AMF) versus mitotic-like figures (MLF) need to be defined. This article provides morphologic criteria for MF identification and for distinguishing normal phases of MF from AMF and MLF. Pertinent features of digital microscopy and application of computational pathology (CPATH) methods are discussed. Correct identification of MF will improve MC consistency, reproducibility, and accuracy obtained from manual (glass slide or whole-slide imaging) and CPATH approaches.


mitotic figure; mitotic count; MC; prophase; prometaphase; metaphase; anaphase; telophase; computational pathology; CPATH; artificial intelligence; AI; whole slide image; WSI; pathology; oncology

Published in

Veterinary Pathology
2021, Volume: 58, number: 2, pages: 243-257

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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    Clinical Science

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