Prospective Consensus Reporting by Gynecologic Pathology and Dermatopathology Improves Diagnosis of Vulvar Biopsies

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2020 Nov 19;144(12):0. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2020-0331-OA.


Context.—: Vulvar biopsy interpretation and reporting, particularly of vulvar dermatoses, can be challenging in daily practice for both surgical pathologists (SPs) and dermatopathologists (DPs).

Objective.—: To investigate whether prospective consensus reporting of vulvar biopsies by SPs and DPs would provide value and improve overall diagnostic concordance.

Design.—: Consecutive vulvar biopsies during a 6-month period were reviewed prospectively by both gynecologic SPs and DPs. Preliminary, independently generated diagnoses were recorded and then shared in consensus review (SPs+DPs). A third pathologist adjudicated cases without consensus. Multiple data elements were collected for each case: division (SP/DP), age, site, clinical history, diagnostic category, preliminary and final (consensus) diagnosis, need for adjudication, ancillary tests, and diagnostic discrepancy.

Results.—: Eighty-four biopsies (48 SP, 36 DP) from 70 patients were reviewed. Forty-two of 84 cases (50%) were neoplastic, 38 of 84 (45%) were reactive/inflammatory, with the remaining (5%) showing both or other features. Independent diagnoses were discrepant in 22 of 84 cases (26%), but consensus review resulted in an agreed-upon diagnosis in all cases, with adjudication required in 6 cases. Independent diagnostic agreement increased over time with a reduction in major and minor discrepancies between the first and second half of the study period.

Conclusions.—: Prospective review of vulvar biopsies by both SPs and DPs can improve overall reporting. Consensus review allows pathologists to gain diagnostic confidence in interpretation of inflammatory (for SPs) and neoplastic (for DPs) vulvar biopsies; therefore, intradepartmental consultation is of value, particularly in select cases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Consensus
  • Dermatology*
  • Female
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pathologists*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Report
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vulva / pathology
  • Young Adult