Introduction: Pathologic response has been proposed as an early clinical trial end point of survival after neoadjuvant treatment in clinical trials of NSCLC. The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) published recommendations for pathologic evaluation of resected lung cancers after neoadjuvant therapy. The aim of this study was to assess pathologic response interobserver reproducibility using IASLC criteria.
Methods: An international panel of 11 pulmonary pathologists reviewed hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides from the lung tumors of resected NSCLC from 84 patients who received neoadjuvant immune checkpoint inhibitors in six clinical trials. Pathologic response was assessed for percent viable tumor, necrosis, and stroma. For each slide, tumor bed area was measured microscopically, and pre-embedded formulas calculated unweighted and weighted major pathologic response (MPR) averages to reflect variable tumor bed proportion.
Results: Unanimous agreement among pathologists for MPR was observed in 68 patients (81%), and inter-rater agreement (IRA) was 0.84 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76-0.92) and 0.86 (95% CI: 0.79-0.93) for unweighted and weighted averages, respectively. Overall, unweighted and weighted methods did not reveal significant differences in the classification of MPR. The highest concordance by both methods was observed for cases with more than 95% viable tumor (IRA = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96-1) and 0% viable tumor (IRA = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.89-0.98). The most common reasons for discrepancies included interpretations of tumor bed, presence of prominent stromal inflammation, distinction between reactive and neoplastic pneumocytes, and assessment of invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma.
Conclusions: Our study revealed excellent reliability in cases with no residual viable tumor and good reliability for MPR with the IASLC recommended less than or equal to 10% cutoff for viable tumor after neoadjuvant therapy.
Keywords: Lung cancer; MPR; Neoadjuvant therapy; Reproducibility.
Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.