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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Dec 1;48(5):1433-8.

An analysis of the impact of pathology review in gynecologic cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.



To analyze the impact of pathology review in gynecologic malignancies.


For all new gynecologic patients seen between December 2, 1993 and January 4, 1996, we conducted a retrospective chart review to determine if a pathology review by the institute's consultant pathologist changed the diagnosis, and if so whether the change altered patient management. A total of 514 patients were seen, of whom 120 had cervical cancer, 226 had endometrial cancer, 122 had a primary ovarian or peritoneal malignancy, 9 had a vaginal malignancy, 28 had vulvar cancer, and 9 had a miscellaneous gynecologic malignancy.


On pathology review the diagnosis changed for 200 of 599 specimens (33%). This altered management for 63 of 514 patients (12%). For patients with cervical cancer, the grade of tumor was the main change in pathologic diagnosis, with occasional change in the presence of lymph vascular invasion. These did not translate into patient management alterations. Eight patients (1.5%) had management alterations. The changes in depth of invasion and vascular invasion altered management for 3 patients. Changes in pap smears resulted in two management alterations, and changes in histologic diagnoses altered management for 3 cases. For endometrial primaries the changes in pathologic diagnosis included grade, depth of invasion, and the presence of cervical involvement. This did alter management in 40 cases (8%). For the ovarian malignancies, the main changes were grade, extent of disease, or histologic classification, some of which (10 patients, 2%) resulted in altered management. One patient with a vaginal lesion had the diagnosis changed, which did alter management. Of the patients diagnosed with vulvar cancer, the pathologic diagnosis changed for 11 patients. This included changes in grade and depth of invasion. This altered management of 2 patients. The remaining miscellaneous gynecologic malignancies had only two diagnosis changes that altered management.


Pathologic review of gynecologic malignancies is justified as it can alter patient management. In addition, the process facilitates cooperation of the multidisciplinary team and provides a valuable educational forum to enhance patient care.

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