Population-based method for investigating adherence to international recommendations for pathology reporting of primary cutaneous melanoma: Results of a EUROCARE-5 high resolution study

Cancer Epidemiol. 2015 Jun;39(3):424-9. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2015.01.016. Epub 2015 Feb 28.


Aim: Our study aim was to investigate the degree of adherence to international recommendations for cutaneous melanoma pathology reports at the population level by a EUROCARE high resolution study.

Methods: The availability of nine characteristics - predominant cell type, tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, mitotic index, histological subtype, growth phase, Clark level, Breslow thickness, ulceration, and sentinel-node biopsy - was examined on pathology reports of a random sample of 636 cases diagnosed in 2003-2005 in seven Italian cancer registries: Biella, Ferrara, Firenze, Latina, Ragusa, Reggio Emilia, Romagna. The odds of having (versus not having) information for all four core characteristics (last four listed above) were estimated.

Results: Sentinel node biopsy was available most often, followed by Clark level, Breslow thickness, histological subtype and ulceration. Information on all nine characteristics was more often available in Biella and Ferrara (northern Italy) than elsewhere. Information on all four core items was available for 78% of cases. Odds of four-core-item availability were higher (than mean) in Biella and lower in Latina (centre) and Ragusa (south).

Conclusions: The availability of information important for staging and management was good overall on pathology reports, but varied with geography. It is likely to be improved by wider dissemination of reporting guidelines and adoption of a standardised synoptic reporting system.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Histopathology reports; Information; Melanoma; Prognostic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / pathology
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Prognosis
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant