Fourier transform infrared (FTIR†) spectroscopic imaging is an emerging microscopy modality for clinical histopathologic diagnoses as well as for biomedical research. Spectral data recorded in this modality are indicative of the underlying, spatially resolved biochemical composition but need computerized algorithms to digitally recognize and transform this information to a diagnostic tool to identify cancer or other physiologic conditions. Statistical pattern recognition forms the backbone of these recognition protocols and can be used for highly accurate results. Aided by biochemical correlations with normal and diseased states and the power of modern computer-aided pattern recognition, this approach is capable of combating many standing questions of traditional histology-based diagnosis models. For example, a simple diagnostic test can be developed to determine cell types in tissue. As a more advanced application, IR spectral data can be integrated with patient information to predict risk of cancer, providing a potential road to precision medicine and personalized care in cancer treatment. The IR imaging approach can be implemented to complement conventional diagnoses, as the samples remain unperturbed and are not destroyed. Despite high potential and utility of this approach, clinical implementation has not yet been achieved due to practical hurdles like speed of data acquisition and lack of optimized computational procedures for extracting clinically actionable information rapidly. The latter problem has been addressed by developing highly efficient ways to process IR imaging data but remains one that has considerable scope for progress. Here, we summarize the major issues and provide practical considerations in implementing a modified Bayesian classification protocol for digital molecular pathology. We hope to familiarize readers with analysis methods in IR imaging data and enable researchers to develop methods that can lead to the use of this promising technique for digital diagnosis of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-143
Number of pages13
JournalYale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Bayesian classification
  • Cancer
  • Computational algorithm
  • Diagnosis
  • Digital detection
  • FTIR
  • Histopathology
  • Image processing
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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