The ins and outs of molecular pathology reporting


The raid evolution in molecular pathology resulting in an increasing complexity requires careful reporting. The need for standardisation is clearer than ever. While synoptic reporting was first used for reporting hereditary genetic diseases, it is becoming more frequent in pathology, especially molecular pathology reports too. The narrative approach is no longer feasible with the growing amount of essential data present on the report, although narrative components are still necessary for interpretation in molecular pathology. On the way towards standardisation of reports, guidelines can be a helpful tool. There are several guidelines that focus on reporting in the field of hereditary diseases, but it is not always feasible to extrapolate these to the reporting of somatic variants in molecular pathology. The rise of multi-gene testing causes challenges for the laboratories. In order to provide a continuous optimisation of the laboratory testing process, including reporting, external quality assessment is essential and has already proven to improve the quality of reports. In general, a clear and concise report for molecular pathology can be created by including elements deemed important by different guidelines, adapting the report to the process flows of the laboratory and integrating the report with the laboratory information management system and the patient record.

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Correspondence to Elisabeth M. C. Dequeker.

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Tack, V., Dufraing, K., Deans, Z.C. et al. The ins and outs of molecular pathology reporting. Virchows Arch 471, 199–207 (2017).

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  • Molecular pathology
  • Reporting
  • Guideline
  • Completeness
  • External quality assessment