Histopathological diagnosis of tumour deposits in colorectal cancer: a Delphi consensus study

Amy Lord, Gina Brown, Muti Abulafi, Adrian Bateman, Wendy Frankel, Robert Goldin, Purva Gopal, Richard Kirsch, Maurice B. Loughrey, Bruno Märkl, Brendan Moran, Giacomo Puppa, Shahnawaz Rasheed, Yoshifumi Shimada, Petur Snaebjornsson, Magali Svrcek, Kay Washington, Nicholas West, Newton Wong, Iris Nagtegaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aims: Tumour deposits (TDs) are an important prognostic marker in colorectal cancer. However, the classification, and inclusion in staging, of TDs has changed significantly in each tumour–node–metastasis (TNM) edition since their initial description in TNM-5, and terminology remains controversial. Expert consensus is needed to guide the future direction of precision staging. Methods and results: A modified Delphi consensus process was used. Statements were formulated and sent to participants as an online survey. Participants were asked to rate their agreement with each statement on a five-point Likert scale and also to suggest additional statements for discussion. These responses were circulated together with anonymised comments, and statements were modified prior to carrying out a second online round. Consensus was set at 70%. Overall, 32 statements reached consensus. There were concerns that TDs were currently incorrectly placed in the TNM system and that their prognostic importance was being underestimated. There were concerns regarding interobserver variation and it was felt that a clearer, more reproducible definition of TDs was needed. Conclusions: Our main recommendations are that the number of TDs should be recorded even if lymph node metastases (LNMs) are also present and that nodules with evidence of origin [extramural venous invasion (EMVI), perineural invasion (PNI), lymphatic invasion (LI)] should still be categorised as TDs and not excluded, as TNM-8 specifies. Whether TDs should continue to be included in the N category at all is controversial, and did not achieve consensus; however, participants agreed that TDs are prognostically worse than LNMs and the N1c category is suboptimal, as it does not reflect this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • TNM system
  • colorectal cancer
  • histopathology
  • staging
  • tumour deposits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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