Interobserver reproducibility of Gleason grading of prostatic carcinoma: urologic pathologists

Hum Pathol. 2001 Jan;32(1):74-80. doi: 10.1053/hupa.2001.21134.


Gleason grading is now the most widely used grading system for prostatic carcinoma in the United States. However, there are only a few studies of the interobserver reproducibility of this system, and no extensive study of interobserver reproducibility among a large number of experienced urologic pathologists exists. Forty-six needle biopsies containing prostatic carcinoma were assigned Gleason scores by 10 urologic pathologists. The overall weighted kappa coefficient kappa(w) for Gleason score for each of the urologic pathologists compared with each of the remaining urologic pathologists ranged from 0.56 to 0.70, all but one being at least 0.60 (substantial agreement). The overall kappa coefficient kappa for each pathologist compared with the others for Gleason score groups 2-4, 5-6, 7, and 8-10 ranged from 0.47 to 0.64 (moderate-substantial agreement), only one less than 0.50. At least 70% of the urologic pathologists agreed on the Gleason grade group (2-4, 5-6, 7, 8-10) in 38 ("consensus" cases) of the 46 cases. The 8 "nonconsensus" cases included low-grade tumors, tumors with small cribriform proliferations, and tumors whose histology was on the border between Gleason patterns. Interobserver reproducibility of Gleason grading among urologic pathologists is in an acceptable range.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Neoplasm Staging / standards
  • Observer Variation*
  • Pathology, Clinical
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Urology