Precision medicine is now a key element in clinical oncology. RAS mutational status is a crucial predictor of responsiveness to anti-epidermal growth factor receptor agents in metastatic colorectal cancer. In an effort to guarantee high-quality testing services in molecular pathology, the European Society of Pathology has been organizing an annual KRAS external quality assessment program since 2009. In 2012, 10 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples, of which 8 from invasive metastatic colorectal cancer tissue and 2 artificial samples of cell line material, were sent to more than 100 laboratories from 26 countries with a request for routine KRAS testing. Both genotyping and clinical reports were assessed independently. Twenty-seven percent of the participants genotyped at least 1 of 10 samples incorrectly. In total, less than 5% of the distributed specimens were genotyped incorrectly. Genotyping errors consisted of false negatives, false positives, and incorrectly genotyped mutations. Twenty percent of the laboratories reported a technical error for one or more samples. A review of the written reports showed that several essential elements were missing, most notably a clinical interpretation of the test result, the method sensitivity, and the use of a reference sequence. External quality assessment serves as a valuable educational tool in assessing and improving molecular testing quality and is an important asset for monitoring quality assurance upon incorporation of new biomarkers in diagnostic services.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.