A pathologist?s assessment is the gold standard for deciding whether cancer is present or absent. However, community pathologists incorrectly diagnose melanoma in up to 17% of cases, while missing it altogether in 2%-13%. We will evaluate the extent of these diagnostic errors, their sources, and their impact on the U.S. population. Techniques that may reduce errors, such as double reading and continuing education, will also be evaluated. To achieve our goals, an expert panel of pathologists will establish a diagnosis for cases in 5 test sets using a Delphi approach. More than 100 U.S. pathologists will independently review two test sets during 2 phases, separated by 6 months.
Our specific aims are: 1. To quantify the extent and evaluate possible sources of pathologists? errors in interpreting biopsy specimens of pigmented lesions. 2. To assess whether the addition of independent double reading by two or more pathologists on all or a subset of cases can improve interpretive accuracy. 3. To develop and evaluate an individualized Web-based educational intervention to reduce errors. 4. To quantify the implications of false negative and false positive interpretations and the impact of strategies to reduce errors on short-term patient care and associated resource utilization within the U.S. population. In summary, we will evaluate the accuracy of pathologists? interpretation of melanocytic lesions, emphasizing the classification of dysplastic nevi and early stage melanoma, where previous studies reveal a concerning degree of diagnostic error. This large multi-center study of community pathologists addresses a topic of growing clinical importance. Our research team includes international experts in melanoma pathology, statistical measurement of test accuracy, and studies of diagnostic accuracy in clinical medicine. The proposed work is innovative in that we will go beyond simply quantifying the existence of errors. We will study patient and pathologist characteristics associated with inaccurate diagnoses in order to identify possible reasons for diagnostic errors (e.g., inadequate detection vs. inadequate classification). We will then evaluate methods for improving health care delivery by using double reading and also an educational program that will be tested in a randomized intervention study. Finally, we will use a model-based analysis to make projections from our data to the clinical implications of inaccurate diagnoses at the U.S. population level.
Surprisingly little research has investigated the accuracy of pathologists in diagnosing melanoma, yet the pathologists'assessment is the gold standard for deciding whether cancer is present or absent and, in the case of skin tissue, whether atypical cells are noted. We propose a series of studies to evaluate the extent and impact of errors in skin pathology interpretation. We will also evaluate possible methods to reduce diagnostic errors including double reading and our innovative individualized Web-based CME.
|Elder, David E; Piepkorn, Michael W; Barnhill, Raymond L et al. (2018) Pathologist characteristics associated with accuracy and reproducibility of melanocytic skin lesion interpretation. J Am Acad Dermatol 79:52-59.e5|
|Elmore, Joann G; Elder, David E; Barnhill, Raymond L et al. (2018) Concordance and Reproducibility of Melanoma Staging According to the 7th vs 8th Edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. JAMA Netw Open 1:|
|Carney, Patricia A; Frederick, Paul D; Reisch, Lisa M et al. (2018) Complexities of perceived and actual performance in pathology interpretation: A comparison of cutaneous melanocytic skin and breast interpretations. J Cutan Pathol 45:478-490|
|Titus, Linda; Barnhill, Raymond L; Lott, Jason P et al. (2017) The influence of tumor regression, solar elastosis, and patient age on pathologists' interpretation of melanocytic skin lesions. Lab Invest 97:187-193|
|Zhao, Ge; Lee, Kachiu C; Peacock, Sue et al. (2017) The utilization of spitz-related nomenclature in the histological interpretation of cutaneous melanocytic lesions by practicing pathologists: results from the M-Path study. J Cutan Pathol 44:5-14|
|Lee, Kachiu C; Peacock, Sue; Weinstock, Martin A et al. (2017) Variation among pathologists' treatment suggestions for melanocytic lesions: A survey of pathologists. J Am Acad Dermatol 76:121-128|
|Weinstock, M A; Lott, J P; Wang, Q et al. (2017) Skin biopsy utilization and melanoma incidence among Medicare beneficiaries. Br J Dermatol 176:949-954|
|Carney, Patricia A; Reisch, Lisa M; Piepkorn, Michael W et al. (2016) Achieving consensus for the histopathologic diagnosis of melanocytic lesions: use of the modified Delphi method. J Cutan Pathol 43:830-7|
|Zhao, Ge; Lee, Kachiu C; Kwon, Gina et al. (2016) The self-reported use of immunostains and cytogenetic testing in the diagnosis of melanoma by practicing U.S. pathologists of 10 selected states. J Cutan Pathol 43:492-7|
|Lott, Jason P; Elmore, Joann G; Zhao, Ge A et al. (2016) Evaluation of the Melanocytic Pathology Assessment Tool and Hierarchy for Diagnosis (MPATH-Dx) classification scheme for diagnosis of cutaneous melanocytic neoplasms: Results from the International Melanoma Pathology Study Group. J Am Acad Dermatol 75:356-63|
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