Second opinion pathology in tertiary care of patients with urologic malignancies

Urol Oncol. Mar-Apr 2011;29(2):194-8. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2009.03.025. Epub 2009 Jun 12.


Objectives: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the utility of second opinion pathology in patients who are seen in consultation for urologic malignancy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients who were seen at our institution in consultation for urologic malignancy from August 2002 to April 2008. All available pathologic slides were reviewed by the urologist and pathologist at the time of consultation and compared with the original diagnosis. Discrepant diagnoses were reviewed by at least 2 pathologists. Diagnostic disagreements were graded as minor or major according to the significance of their effect on treatment or prognosis. We report the proportion and types of diagnostic discrepancies and their impact on patient care.

Results: A total of 264 patients were seen in consultation. Of these, 213 had pathologic material available for review: prostate cancer 117 (55%), bladder cancer 83 (39%), testis cancer 5 (2%), renal pelvis or ureteral cancer 5 (2%), retroperitoneal tumor 2 (1%), and kidney cancer 1 (0.5%). Disagreement with the original diagnosis was found in 22 cases (10%), of which 18 (8%) were classified as major, and 4 (2%) were classified as minor. Interventions avoided or delayed, as a direct result of second opinion pathology, were a prostate biopsy in 1 patient, management of metastatic prostate cancer in 1 patient, partial nephrectomy in 1 patient, management of urothelial carcinoma in situ (CIS) in 1 patient, and radical cystectomy in 5 patients. Interventions recommended or performed were radical prostatectomy in 1 patient, and radical cystectomy in another. Additional pathology from subsequent biopsy or surgery was available in 12 of the 22 patients, and the second opinion pathologic diagnosis was supported in all patients.

Conclusions: A second opinion review of surgical pathology for urologic malignancy can result in major therapeutic and prognostic changes, which can impact patient care. Our results support the review of all pathology by the urologist and pathologist as part of the consultation in patients with urologic malignancy.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pathology, Surgical / methods*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Urologic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / methods