Interobserver variation in the classification of thymic tumours--a multicentre study using the WHO classification system.
ABSTRACT To test the reproducibility of the current World Health Organization (WHO) classification of thymic epithelial tumours and to determine the level of interobserver variation within a group of pathologists, all with experience and expertise in thoracic pathology.
Ninety-five thymic tumours were circulated to a group of 17 pathologists in the UK and The Netherlands over a 1-year period. Participants were asked to classify them according to WHO criteria. The diagnoses were subjected to statistical analysis and kappa values calculated. The overall level of agreement was moderate (kappa 0.45). When the categories were reduced in number by creating two groups, (A + AB + B1 + B2 and B3 + C), the level of agreement increased to 0.62. An alternative grouping (A + AB + B1 and B2 + B3 + C) increased it slightly further. The best agreement was in tumour types A and AB. Difficulties arose in distinguishing B1 tumours from B2 tumours and B2 tumours from B3 tumours.
Although the WHO system describes a number of well-defined tumour types with clear diagnostic criteria, the overall level of agreement was moderate and improved if some groups were amalgamated.
- SourceAvailable from: Tiziano De Giacomo
Article: Thymoma and thymic carcinoma.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Histopathological diagnosis of thymic epithelial tumors according to the current World Health Organization classification is not adequately reproducible; however, most thoracic clinicians are unaware of this. We illustrate this problem in practical settings to raise clinician awareness. METHODS: An expert pathologist specialized in thymic pathology and a trained general pathologist independently diagnosed 158 resected thymic epithelial tumors. Assuming that the expert's diagnoses were more accurate, the two pathologists' diagnoses were judged to be concordant when tumor subtypes (thymoma) or categories (thymic carcinoma and neuroendocrine tumor) were in agreement. RESULTS: The concordance rates for different thymoma subtypes were 75 % (3/4), 30 % (11/37), 100 % (17/17), 80 % (39/49), and 53 % (9/17) for types A, AB, B1, B2, and B3, respectively. Discordant cases of type AB thymoma were mainly diagnosed as type B1 or B2 by the general pathologist. Discordant cases of type B2 thymoma were diagnosed as type AB, B1, or B3, and discordant cases of type B3 thymoma were diagnosed as type A, B2, or carcinoma. Discordant cases of thymic carcinoma were diagnosed as type A or B3 thymoma. CONCLUSION: Investigation of the concordant and discordant cases suggested that reasonable discrepancies can occur because of the noncommittal categorical boundaries inherent in this classification. Thoracic clinicians should consider this potential problem in daily practice.General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 12/2012;