National multicentric evaluation of quality of pathology reports for rectal cancer in France in 2016

  • C. Boutanos
  • M. Capdepont
  • M. Svrcek
  • F. Thélu
  • N. Guedj
  • F. Poizat
  • F. Bibeau
  • B. Turlin
  • A. Rousseau
  • A. Bardier
  • J. Selves
  • M. Desrousseaux
  • F. Le Pessot
  • B. Bonhomme
  • M.-H. Laverrière
  • C. Julié
  • R.-P. Eyremandi
  • S. Stanislas
  • C. Bazille
  • A. Daubech
  • T. Lazure
  • M.-S. Bordier
  • A. Demoures
  • Anne RullierEmail author
Original Article


The quality of pathologic assessment of rectal cancer specimens is crucial for treatment efficiency and survival. The Royal College of Pathologists (RCP) recommends evaluating the quality of the pathology report in routine practice using three quality indicators (QIs): the number of lymph nodes (LNs) analyzed (≥ 12), the rate of venous invasion (VI ≥ 30%), and peritoneal involvement (pT4a ≥ 10%). In this study, we evaluated the three QIs of the French national pathology reports and compared them with British guidelines and assessed the influence of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy on QIs. From January 1 to December 31, 2016, all pathology reports for rectal adenocarcinoma were collected from French departments. Neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy included long-course radiotherapy with concomitant 5-FU-based chemotherapy. A total of 983 rectal cancer pathology reports were evaluated. A median of 15 LNs were analyzed and 81% of centers had ≥ 12 LNs. The rate of VI was 30% and 41% of centers had ≥ 30% VI. The rate of pT4a was 4% and 18% of centers reported ≥ 10% pT4a. None of the centers reached the threshold for the three QIs. All three QIs were lower after radiochemotherapy compared to surgery alone. In conclusion, in French routine practice, the values of two of the three QIs (LNs analyzed and VI) were globally in line with RCP guidelines. However, the rate of pT4a was very low, particularly after radiochemotherapy, suggesting its low value in rectal cancer.


Rectal cancer Pathology report Quality report Neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy 



The authors thank Pr E Rullier for the revision of the manuscript.

Contribution statement

C Boutanos and A Rullier conceived and designed the study and wrote, edited, and reviewed the manuscript. C Boutanos and M Capdepont researched and analyzed data. All authors gave the final approval for publication. A Rullier takes full responsibility for the work as a whole, including the study design, access to data, and the decision to submit and publish the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

In this work, all pathology reports were anonymized before analysis. Therefore, no informed consent was obtained.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

428_2019_2534_MOESM1_ESM.doc (78 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 78 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Boutanos
    • 1
  • M. Capdepont
    • 1
  • M. Svrcek
    • 2
  • F. Thélu
    • 3
  • N. Guedj
    • 4
  • F. Poizat
    • 5
  • F. Bibeau
    • 6
  • B. Turlin
    • 7
  • A. Rousseau
    • 8
  • A. Bardier
    • 9
  • J. Selves
    • 10
  • M. Desrousseaux
    • 11
  • F. Le Pessot
    • 12
  • B. Bonhomme
    • 13
  • M.-H. Laverrière
    • 14
  • C. Julié
    • 15
  • R.-P. Eyremandi
    • 16
  • S. Stanislas
    • 17
  • C. Bazille
    • 18
  • A. Daubech
    • 19
  • T. Lazure
    • 20
  • M.-S. Bordier
    • 21
  • A. Demoures
    • 22
  • Anne Rullier
    • 1
    • 23
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PathologyCHU BordeauxBordeaux cedexFrance
  2. 2.Department of PathologyCHU Saint-Antoine APHPParisFrance
  3. 3.Pathologie Nord UnilabsLilleFrance
  4. 4.Department of PathologyCHU Beaujon APHPClichyFrance
  5. 5.Department of PathologyInstitut Paoli-CalmettesMarseilleFrance
  6. 6.Department of PathologyInstitut du Cancer de MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  7. 7.Department of PathologyCHU RennesRennesFrance
  8. 8.Biopath AquitaineLe HaillanFrance
  9. 9.Department of PathologyCHU de La SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  10. 10.Department of PathologyIUCT OncopoleToulouseFrance
  11. 11.Atlantic PathologieBayonneFrance
  12. 12.Service de PathologieCHU RouenRouenFrance
  13. 13.Department of PathologyInstitut BergoniéBordeauxFrance
  14. 14.Department of PathologyCHU GrenobleGrenobleFrance
  15. 15.Department of PathologyCHU Ambroise Paré APHPBoulogne-BillancourtFrance
  16. 16.Laboratoire d’Anatomie et de Cytologie PathologiquesPauFrance
  17. 17.Department of PathologyCH PauPauFrance
  18. 18.Department of PathologyCHU CaenCaenFrance
  19. 19.Cabinet de PathologieLe BouscatFrance
  20. 20.Department of PathologyCHU Kremlin-BicêtreLe Kremlin-BicêtreFrance
  21. 21.Department of PathologyCH LibourneLibourneFrance
  22. 22.Department of PathologyCH PérigueuxPérigueuxFrance
  23. 23.CHU PellegrinBordeauxFrance

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