The value of second-opinion pathology diagnoses on prostate biopsies from patients referred for management of prostate cancer

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2011 Jun 20;4(5):468-75. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Gleason score (GS) (sum of primary plus secondary grades) is used to predict patients' clinical outcome and to customize treatment strategies for prostate cancer (PC). However, due in part to pathologist misreading, there is significant discrepancy of GS between needle-core biopsies (NCB) and radical prostatectomy specimens. We assessed the requirement for re-evaluating NCB diagnosed by outside pathologists in patients referred to our institution for management of PC. In 100 patients, we reviewed both their original "outside" and second-opinion ("in-house") diagnoses of the same NCB specimens, and compared them with the diagnoses of the whole-mount radical prostatectomy (WMRP) specimens (gold standard for analysis). We found that both outside and in-house biopsy GS vary significantly from the WMRP diagnoses, with GS undergrading substantially predominating above overgrading. Statistical analysis demonstrated that the main diagnostic discrepancy was in the differentiation between primary and secondary Gleason grades (mainly 3 and 4) and that outside NCB GS was significantly less accurate with respect to the WMRP specimens than the in-house NCB GS. In addition, in a different cohort of 65 NCB cases, we found that in 5 out of 11 patients, outside pathologists failed to report the presence of extraprostatic extension, an important feature for diagnosis of a higher pathology stage (pT3a). Since histopathological evaluation is a critical factor for appropriate treatment selection, we recommend that a re-evaluation by in-house urologic pathologists should be performed in all outside NCB specimens before patients are admitted for treatment in any given institution.

Keywords: Gleason Grade; Gleason Score; Needle-core Biopsy; Prostate cancer; Second-opinion; Whole Mount Radical Prostatectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostate / surgery
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Referral and Consultation