Diagnosis of T1 colorectal cancer in pedunculated polyps in daily clinical practice: a multicenter study

Mod Pathol. 2017 Jan;30(1):104-112. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2016.165. Epub 2016 Oct 7.


T1 colorectal cancer can be mimicked by pseudo-invasion in pedunculated polyps. British guidelines are currently one of the few which recommend diagnostic confirmation of T1 colorectal cancer by a second pathologist. The aim of this study was to provide insights into the accuracy of histological diagnosis of pedunculated T1 colorectal cancer in daily clinical practice. A sample of 128 cases diagnosed as pedunculated T1 colorectal cancer between 2000 and 2014 from 10 Dutch hospitals was selected for histological review. Firstly, two Dutch expert gastrointestinal pathologists reviewed all hematoxylin-eosin stained slides. In 20 cases the diagnosis T1 colorectal cancer was not confirmed (20/128; 16%). The discordant cases were subsequently discussed with a third Dutch gastrointestinal pathologist and a consensus diagnosis was agreed. The revised diagnoses were pseudo-invasion in 10 cases (10/128; 8%), high-grade dysplasia in 4 cases (4/128; 3%), and equivocal in 6 cases (6/128; 5%). To further validate the consensus diagnosis, the discordant cases were reviewed by an independent expert pathologist from the United Kingdom. A total of 39 cases were reviewed blindly including the 20 cases with a revised diagnosis and 19 control cases where the Dutch expert panel agreed with the original reporting pathologists diagnosis. In 19 of the 20 cases with a revised diagnosis the British pathologist agreed that T1 colorectal cancer could not be confirmed. Additionally, amongst the 19 control cases the British pathologist was unable to confirm T1 colorectal cancer in a further 4 cases and was equivocal in 3 cases. In conclusion, both generalist and expert pathologists experience diagnostic difficulty distinguishing pseudo-invasion and high-grade dysplasia from T1 colorectal cancer. In order to prevent overtreatment, review of the histology of pedunculated T1 colorectal cancers by a second pathologist should be considered with discussion of these cases at a multidisciplinary meeting.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity