Surgical pathological second opinion in thyroid malignancy: impact on patients' management and prognosis

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2005 Feb;31(1):74-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2004.08.010.


Objectives: To evaluate the effect of inter-institutional surgical pathology review of thyroid cancer on patients' treatment and prognosis.

Methods: All cases referred to the Institute of Pathology at Leeds for thyroid pathology review between January 2001 and March 2003 were included. The referring pathologists reports were compared to those produced in the MDT meeting by the expert pathologist. Whenever there was disagreement a third expert opinion was sought who was blinded for both diagnoses. Effects on management and prognosis were evaluated if there was disagreement.

Results: Of the 66 patients reviewed, 12 (18%) had a different pathological diagnosis (kappa=0.33). Two had their diagnosis changed from malignant to benign and a further two from benign to malignant. Eight patients had their prognosis downgraded and four upgraded after histopathological review. Five patients had their management affected by the new pathological diagnosis.

Conclusion: A second opinion of surgical pathology for thyroid tumours can result in major therapeutic and prognostic modifications. All cases of suspected thyroid cancers should be reviewed in a multidisciplinary meeting supported by pathologist with experience in thyroid pathology.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pathology, Surgical*
  • Prognosis
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*