Aiden Gabbert

Major: Biology; Environmental Science
Purdue School of Science
Supervisor: Dr. George Sandusky
Department: Department of Pathology; Indiana University School of Medicine

Quantitative Image Analysis of Expression of LIMK2 in Pancreatic Tissue Microarray (TMA)

Pancreatic cancer has approximately 50,000 deaths per year in the United States, making it the fifth leading cause of cancer death. The goal of this study was to evaluate expression of the LIMK2 biomarker in pancreatic cancer tissue microarrays. This biomarker is found in the cytoplasm and affects how cells communicate with one another and know when to divide. A previous study has found LIMK2 to be a poor prognostic marker in kidney cancer cases. Tissue microarrays (TMAs) containing 80-90 patient samples on one slide were used. This allows researchers to evaluate multiple cases efficiently. Two quantitative image analysis platforms were evaluated (Aperio Positive Pixel and QuPath). For both platforms, samples containing excessive inflammation, fat, and necrosis were omitted from analysis. The TMA included samples of tumor stages I, II, III, and IV, allowing us to draw conclusions about how the presence of LIMK2 influences and/or is influenced by the tumor's growth. Tumor stages use the extent of tumor spread to rank the severity of the cancer. In pancreatic cancer, stages I-III describe increasing tumor growth and spread within the pancreas and its associated blood and lymph vessels. Stage IV tumors have metastasized to nearby organs such as the liver.