Human Pathology. 2007 Feb 1; [Epub ahead of print] [Link]
Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology; Butnor KJ, Sporn TA, Ordonez NG.
Department of Pathology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05401, USA.
It has been evident for decades that pathology reports are very variable even within a single institution. Standardization of reporting is the optimal way to ensure that information necessary for patient management, prognostic and predictive factor assessment, grading, staging, analysis of outcomes, and tumor registries is included in pathology reports. In recent years, 2 societies (first the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology [ADASP] and then the College of American Pathologists [CAP]) have undertaken to publish guidelines for the reporting of common cancers. The CAP assigned multidisciplinary groups of pathologists, surgeons, radiation, and medical oncologists to develop the protocols. Other pathologists and clinicians then reviewed them. After those reviews the protocols were reviewed by multiple CAP committees and finally approved by the Board of Governors. The ADASP, in contrast, chose a pathologist expert in each filed to assemble a group from within the pathology community (with clinician input if desired) to write specific cancer protocols. These were then approved by the ADASP council and subsequently by the membership. Although both societies began the process at approximately the same time, the streamlined approach adopted by the ADASP enabled them to publish years earlier in pathology journals frequented by anatomic pathologists. Although the formats are somewhat different, the contents are essentially the same. The American College of Surgery Commission on Cancer (COC) accredits cancer centers in the United States. Recently, the COC decided to require elements, deemed as essential by the CAP, to be described in all pathology reports in their accredited cancer centers as of January 2004. Importantly, they do not require that the specific CAP protocols or synoptic reports be used. The ADASP has updated all of its protocols to comply with the COC requirements in the form of 37 uniform checklists. The checklists use the staging criteria sited in the American Joint Committee on Cancer 2002 Staging Manual (sixth edition) but include a variety of other references listed in each of the checklists. Moreover, the checklists are formatted for ease of use. They may be used as templates for uniform reporting and are designed to be compatible with voice-activated transcription. The different elements in these revised ADASP diagnostic checklists have been divided into required and optional. The term required in this context only signifies compliance with the COC guidelines. The ADASP realizes that specimens and practices vary, and it will not be possible to report these elements in every case. However, the ADASP hopes that pathologists will find these checklists to be useful in daily clinical practice, while facilitating compliance with the new COC requirements.