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Br J Cancer. 1991 Aug; 64(2): 315–320.
PMCID: PMC1977501

Sarcomas in north west England: I. Histopathological peer review.


A total of 468 cases of bone, soft tissue and visceral sarcomas (and certain other tumours) diagnosed during the years 1982-84 in North West England were entered in a study of histopathological peer review, incidence and survival. This paper describes the effects of peer review. Material was reviewed by a panel of five pathologists for 413 of the 450 cases originally registered as sarcomas with the Regional Cancer Registry. The diagnosis of sarcomas was confirmed in 76% cases and and there was agreement on sub-type for 53% cases. Measures of agreement were lowest for the two sub-types most commonly diagnosed i.e. malignant fibrous histiocytoma and leiomyosarcoma. Degree of agreement between individual pathologists and final panel diagnosis was also very variable but never less than 65%. It is concluded that second opinion is essential in cases of presumed sarcomas for studies of incidence and aetiology and to ensure that appropriate treatment is selected.

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Selected References

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  • Alvegård TA, Berg NO. Histopathology peer review of high-grade soft tissue sarcoma: the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group experience. J Clin Oncol. 1989 Dec;7(12):1845–1851. [PubMed]
  • Presant CA, Russell WO, Alexander RW, Fu YS. Soft-tissue and bone sarcoma histopathology peer review: the frequency of disagreement in diagnosis and the need for second pathology opinions. The Southeastern Cancer Study Group experience. J Clin Oncol. 1986 Nov;4(11):1658–1661. [PubMed]
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  • Whitehead ME, Fitzwater JE, Lindley SK, Kern SB, Ulirsch RC, Winecoff WF., 3rd Quality assurance of histopathologic diagnoses: a prospective audit of three thousand cases. Am J Clin Pathol. 1984 Apr;81(4):487–491. [PubMed]

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