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Am J Surg Pathol. 2004 Mar;28(3):399-402.

Institutional pathology consultation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Koo Foundation, Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center is the only cancer center in Taiwan. The hospital maintains a policy, and the division of oncology makes a concerted effort to obtain and review pertinent pathologic specimens in all patients who had pathologic diagnosis performed at other institution before rendering therapy. A 1-year retrospective study was undertaken to assess the frequency of discordant diagnosis of our second-opinion pathology slide review and determine its impact on patient care. Discrepancies were classified into four basic categories: A) no diagnostic disagreement; B) no diagnostic disagreement but pertinent information not included, such as tumor size, lymphovascular invasion, perineural invasion, histologic grading, margin status, extracapsular spread in metastatic lymph nodes; and C) major diagnostic disagreement, which was defined as follows; 1) change from benign to malignant, 2) change from malignant to benign, 3) a different type of neoplasm, and 4) change in N and M classification in TMN staging framework. Of 715 cases, a total of 673 (94%) showed no discrepancy. However, 35 of 673 (5.2%) cases failed to offer pertinent information (category B). Major disagreement was found in 42 16%) cases (category C). This study illustrated the fact that second pathology slide review prior to therapy can identify a small group of cases that result in a major change in their therapeutic plan. Admittedly, the review of pathology slides involves additional time and effort for both consulting and referring institutions. It can ensure quality medical care and limit medicolegal liability. As the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology recommended, second pathology review should be standard practice. It is necessary that our major Pathology Association and Societies adopt a strong position on this matter to influence government or insurance company to pay for this service rendered by pathologists.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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