With the introduction of new immune modeling treatments of many cancer types, focus on the tumour microenvironment (TME) is increasing. The TME includes surrounding blood vessels, fibroblasts, cells of the innate and adaptive immune system, signaling molecules and the extracellular matrix. Tumour cells interact continuously with the immune system but the interaction can be regarded as a double-edged sword. On the one hand many types of inflammatory cells protect against tumour growth and dissemination, whereas other cells and proteins stimulate multiplication and dissemination of the tumour cells. The characterisation and quantification of the inflammatory cells in the TME will probably be a new task for the pathologist and it will add to the increasing amount of information to be included in the pathology report. The use of image analysis systems based on virtual slides is a way of fulfilling this new task in a quick and reproducible way. Examples of this new modality will be presented in this lecture.
Professor and Head of Department, Institute of Pathology, Aarhus University Hospital. Gold medal, Aarhus University, 1987. Doctoral degree (D.M.Sc.), Aarhus University, 1995. Chairman of the Danish Society for Pathological Anatomy and Clinical Cytology 2004-2009. Member of The National Board of Health’s Committee on Cancer, Consultant for the Medico-legal Council, Board member of The National Danish Cancer Biobank.