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Inter-observer variability of cribriform architecture and percent Gleason pattern 4 in prostate cancer: relation to clinical outcome

  • Margaretha A. van der Slot,
  • Eva Hollemans,
  • Michael A. den Bakker,
  • Robert Hoedemaeker,
  • Mike Kliffen,
  • Leo M. Budel,
  • Natascha N. T. Goemaere,
  • Geert J. L. H. van Leenders

Publication: Virchows Archiv, August 2020

The Grade group is an important parameter for clinical decision-making in prostate cancer. Recently, percent Gleason pattern 4 and presence of invasive cribriform and/or intraductal carcinoma (CR/IDC) have been recognized for their independent predictive value for prostate cancer outcome. There is sparse data on the inter-observer agreement for these pathologic features in practice. Our objectives were to investigate inter-observer variability of percent Gleason pattern and CR/IDC and to relate individual tumour scores to clinical outcome. Our cohort included 80 consecutive radical prostatectomies with a median follow-up 87.1 months (interquartile range 43.3–119.2), of which the slide with largest tumour volume was scored by six pathologists for Grade group (four tiers: 1, 2, 3 and 4/5), percent Gleason pattern 4 (four tiers: 0–25%, 26–50%, 51–75% and 76–100%) and presence of CR/IDC (two tiers: absent, present). The individual assignments were related to post-operative biochemical recurrence (20/80). Inter-observer agreement was substantial (Krippendorff’s α 0.626) for assessment of Grade group and moderate for CR/IDC (α 0.507) and percent Gleason pattern 4 (α 0.551). For each individual pathologist, biochemical recurrence rates incremented by Grade group and presence of CR/IDC, although such relation was less clear for percent Gleason pattern 4. In conclusion, inter-observer agreement for CR/IDC and percent Gleason pattern 4 is lower than for Grade groups, indicating awareness of these features needs further improvement. Grade group and CR/IDC, but not percent Gleason pattern 4 was related to biochemical recurrence for each pathologist, indicating overall validity of individual grade assignments despite inter-observer variability.