Dataset for pathology reporting of colorectal cancer: recommendations from the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting (ICCR)

Maurice B Loughrey, Fleur Webster, Mark J Arends, Ian Brown , Lawrence J Burgart, Chris Cunningham, Jean-Francois Flejou, Sanjay Kakar, Richard Kirsch, Motohiro Kojima, Alessandro Lugli, Christophe Rosty, Kieran Sheahan, Nicholas P West, Richard H Wilson, Iris D Nagtegaal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To describe a new international dataset for pathology reporting of colorectal cancer surgical specimens, produced under the auspices of the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting (ICCR).

Background: Quality of pathology reporting and mutual understanding between colorectal surgeon, pathologist and oncologist are vital to patient management. Some pathology parameters are prone to variable interpretation, resulting in differing positions adopted by existing national datasets.

Methods: The ICCR, a global alliance of major pathology institutions with links to international cancer organizations, has developed and ratified a rigorous and efficient process for the development of evidence-based, structured datasets for pathology reporting of common cancers. Here we describe the production of a dataset for colorectal cancer resection specimens by a multidisciplinary panel of internationally recognized experts.

Results: The agreed dataset comprises eighteen core (essential) and seven non-core (recommended) elements identified from a review of current evidence. Areas of contention are addressed, some highly relevant to surgical practice, with the aim of standardizing multidisciplinary discussion. The summation of all core elements is considered to be the minimum reporting standard for individual cases. Commentary is provided, explaining each element’s clinical relevance, definitions to be applied where appropriate for the agreed list of value options and the rationale for considering the element as core or non-core.

Conclusions: This first internationally agreed dataset for colorectal cancer pathology reporting promotes standardization of pathology reporting and enhanced clinicopathological communication. Widespread adoption will facilitate international comparisons, multinational clinical trials and help to improve the management of colorectal cancer globally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Early online date7 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2021


  • dataset
  • protocol
  • structured report
  • synoptic report
  • ICCR
  • guidelines
  • colorectal cancer


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