Interpathologist Diagnostic Agreement for Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinomas Using Current and Recent Classifications

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2018 Dec;142(12):1537-1548. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2017-0481-OA. Epub 2018 Apr 30.


Context.—: Measurement of interpathologist diagnostic agreement (IPDA) should allow pathologists to improve current diagnostic criteria and disease classifications.

Objectives.—: To determine how IPDA for pathologists' diagnoses of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is affected by the addition of a set of mucin and immunohistochemical (IHC) stains to hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) alone, by recent NSCLC reclassifications, by simplification of these classifications, and by pathologists' practice location, pulmonary pathology expertise, practice duration, and lung carcinoma case exposure.

Design.—: We used a Web-based survey to present core images of 54 NSCLC cases to 22 practicing pathologists for diagnosis, initially as H&E only, then as H&E plus mucin and 4 IHC stains. Each case was diagnosed according to published 2004, 2011, and 2015 NSCLC classifications. Cohen's kappa was calculated for the 231 pathologist pairs as a measure of IPDA.

Results.—: Twenty-two pathologists diagnosed 54 NSCLC cases by using 4 published classifications. IPDA is significantly higher for H&E/mucin/IHC diagnoses than for H&E-only diagnoses. IPDA for H&E/mucin/IHC diagnoses is highest with the 2015 classification. IPDA is estimated higher after collapse of stated diagnoses into subhead or dichotomized classes. IPDA for H&E/mucin/IHC diagnoses with the 2015 World Health Organization classification is similar for community and academic pathologists, and is higher when pathologists have pulmonary pathology expertise, have more than 6 years of practice experience, or diagnose more than 100 new lung carcinoma cases per year.

Conclusions.—: Higher IPDA is associated with use of mucin and IHC stains, with the 2015 NSCLC classification, and with pathologists' pulmonary pathology expertise, practice duration, and frequency of lung carcinoma cases.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / classification
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Consensus
  • Eosine Yellowish-(YS)
  • Hematoxylin
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / classification
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mucin-1 / metabolism*
  • Pathologists
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • MUC1 protein, human
  • Mucin-1
  • Eosine Yellowish-(YS)
  • Hematoxylin