Significant variation in histopathological assessment of endoscopic resections for Barrett's neoplasia suggests need for consensus reporting: propositions for improvement

M. J. van der Wel, E. Klaver, R. E. Pouw, L. A. A. Brosens, K. Biermann, M. Doukas, C. Huysentruyt, A. Karrenbeld, F. J. W. ten Kate, G. Kats-Ugurlu, J. van der Laan, I. van Lijnschoten, F. C. P. Moll, G. J. A. Offerhaus, A. H. A. G. Ooms, C. A. Seldenrijk, M. Visser, J. G. Tijssen, S. L. Meijer, J. J. G. H. M. Bergman

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Endoscopic resection (ER) is an important diagnostic step in management of patients with early Barrett's esophagus (BE) neoplasia. Based on ER specimens, an accurate histological diagnosis can be made, which guides further treatment. Based on depth of tumor invasion, differentiation grade, lymphovascular invasion, and margin status, the risk of lymph node metastases and local recurrence is judged to be low enough to justify endoscopic management, or high enough to warrant invasive surgical esophagectomy. Adequate assessment of these histological risk factors is therefore of the utmost importance. Aim of this study was to assess pathologist concordance on these histological features on ER specimens and evaluate causes of discrepancy. Of 62 challenging ER cases, one representative H&E slide and matching desmin and endothelial marker were digitalized and independently assessed by 13 dedicated GI pathologists from 8 Dutch BE expert centers, using an online assessment module. For each histological feature, concordance and discordance were calculated. Clinically relevant discordances were observed for all criteria. Grouping depth of invasion categories according to expanded endoscopic treatment criteria (T1a and T1sm1 vs. T1sm2/3), ≥1 pathologist was discrepant in 21% of cases, increasing to 45% when grouping diagnoses according to the traditional T1a versus T1b classification. For differentiation grade, lymphovascular invasion, and margin status, discordances were substantial with 27%, 42%, and 32% of cases having ≥1 discrepant pathologist, respectively. In conclusion, histological assessment of ER specimens of early BE cancer by dedicated GI pathologists shows significant discordances for all relevant histological features. We present propositions to improve definitions of diagnostic criteria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2021

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