The importance of second opinion in surgical pathology referral material of lymphoma

Saudi Med J. 2012 Apr;33(4):399-405.


Objective: To evaluate the importance of inter-institutional second opinion surgical pathology review of lymphoma, and identify the lymphoma pathologic mimics.

Methods: The surgical pathology material of patients referred to 2 tertiary care hospitals in the western region of Saudi Arabia (King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre and King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), for evaluation or therapy for lymphoma over a 10-year period (August 2001 to August 2011), were reviewed. This study included only cases in which the patient referred with a diagnosis previously made at the primary institution.

Results: Of 560 cases, the second opinion diagnosis differed significantly from the initial diagnosis in 39 cases (7%). These include changing the diagnoses from lymphoma to non-lymphoma lesions, change the type of lymphoma with major clinical impact, and change from reactive/non-diagnostic to lymphoma.

Conclusion: Second opinion surgical pathology for lymphomas can result in major therapeutic and prognostic modifications. Thus, review of the original histologic material is recommended prior to a major therapeutic decision, and to maximize the discovery of clinically relevant major disagreements. Stringent adherence to institution's second opinion policy is an important quality assurance measure in surgical pathology.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Lymphoma / surgery
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Saudi Arabia