Interobserver reproducibility in the diagnosis of ductal proliferative breast lesions using standardized criteria

Am J Surg Pathol. 1992 Dec;16(12):1133-43. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199212000-00001.


Although the categorization of proliferative breast lesions provides valuable information regarding subsequent risk of breast cancer, the ability of pathologists to classify such lesions in a reproducible fashion has not been adequately evaluated. To assess further interobserver reproducibility in the categorization of proliferative breast lesions, six pathologists each reviewed 24 proliferative ductal lesions and classified them as either usual hyperplasia (H), atypical hyperplasia (AH), or carcinoma in situ (CIS). Before evaluation of the study slides, all the participants were instructed to use the diagnostic criteria of Page and co-workers and were provided with both a written summary of these criteria and a set of teaching slides with representative examples of each type of lesion. Complete agreement among all six pathologists was seen in 14 cases (58%); five or more agreed in 17 cases (71%); and four or more arrived at the same diagnosis in 22 cases (92%). No pathologist consistently rendered more "benign" or "malignant" diagnoses than any other. After assigning numerical values for each diagnostic category (H = 1, AH = 2, CIS = 3), the scores for the group of 24 cases did not differ significantly by pathologist (p = 0.68; average score range, 1.7-2.0). Our results indicate that with the use of standardized criteria, interobserver concordance in the diagnosis of proliferative ductal breast lesions can be obtained in the majority of cases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Observer Variation