With increasing numbers of reagents the problem of selecting appropriate antibodies to solve problems in the diagnosis of lymphoma is becoming more complex. One approach is to use a computer program to optimise the selection process. Such a program was devised, incorporating data from an extensive literature search. When presented with a differential diagnosis it selects the most appropriate antibody panel and when given the results evaluates the relative likelihood of each possible diagnosis. In a retrospective study 81% of the tests used had been non-discriminatory, but using the results of the remaining 19% of the tests, the computer was able to select the "correct" diagnosis with a high degree of certainty. The development and use of this system illustrated several problems in the application of computer assisted diagnostic techniques in histopathology. These problems include incomplete data and lack of understanding of the process of histopathological diagnosis.
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