Validation of interobserver agreement in lung cancer assessment: Hematoxylin-eosin diagnostic reproducibility for non-small cell lung cancer: The 2004 world health organization classification and therapeutically relevant subsets

Academic Article


  • Context.-Precise subtype diagnosis of non-small cell lung carcinoma is increasingly relevant, based on the availability of subtype-specific therapies, such as bevacizumab and pemetrexed, and based on the subtype-specific prevalence of activating epidermal growth factor receptor mutations. Objectives.-To establish a baseline measure of interobserver reproducibility for non-small cell lung carcinoma diagnoses with hematoxylin-eosin for the current 2004 World Health Organization classification, to estimate interobserver reproducibility for the therapeutically relevant squamous/nonsquamous subsets, and to examine characteristics that improve interobserver reproducibility. Design.-Primary, resected lung cancer specimens were converted to digital (virtual) slides. Based on a single hematoxylin-eosin virtual slide, pathologists were asked to assign a diagnosis using the 2004 World Health Organization classification. Kappa statistics were calculated for each pathologist-pair for each slide and were summarized by classification scheme, pulmonary pathology expertise, diagnostic confidence, and neoplastic grade. Results.-The 12 pulmonary pathology experts and the 12 community pathologists each independently diagnosed 48 to 96 single hematoxylin-eosin digital slides derived from 96 cases of non-small cell lung carcinoma resection. Overall agreement improved with simplification from the comprehensive 44 World Health Organization diagnoses (k = 0.25) to their 10 major header subtypes (k = 0.48) and improved again with simplification into the therapeutically relevant squamous/nonsquamous dichotomy (k = 0.55). Multivariate analysis showed that higher diagnostic agreement was associated with better differentiation, better slide quality, higher diagnostic confidence, similar years of pathology experience, and pulmonary pathology expertise. Conclusions.-These data define the baseline diagnostic agreement for hematoxylin-eosin diagnosis of non-small cell lung carcinoma, allowing future studies to test for improved diagnostic agreement with reflex ancillary tests.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 22954272
  • Author List

  • Grilley-Olson JE; Hayes DN; Moore DT; Leslie KO; Wilkerson MD; Qaqish BF; Hayward MC; Cabanski CR; Yin X; Socinski MA
  • Start Page

  • 32
  • End Page

  • 40
  • Volume

  • 137
  • Issue

  • 1