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In recent years, technological advances in tissue preparation, high-throughput volumetric microscopy, and computational infrastructure have enabled rapid developments in nondestructive 3D pathology, in which high-resolution histologic datasets are obtained from thick tissue specimens, such as whole biopsies, without the need for physical sectioning onto glass slides. While 3D pathology generates massive datasets that are attractive for automated computational analysis, there is also a desire to use 3D pathology to improve the visual assessment of tissue histology. In this perspective, we discuss and provide examples of potential advantages of 3D pathology for the visual assessment of clinical specimens and the challenges of dealing with large 3D datasets (of individual or multiple specimens) that pathologists have not been trained to interpret. We discuss the need for artificial intelligence triaging algorithms and explainable analysis methods to assist pathologists or other domain experts in the interpretation of these novel, often complex, large datasets.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pathol Clin Res

Publication Date



digital pathology, light-sheet microscopy, nondestructive 3D pathology, prognosis, prostate cancer