Practice patterns for reporting digestive system neuroendocrine neoplasms: results from a large, comprehensive international survey

Dipti M. Karamchandani, Brian Cox, Stefano La Rosa, Andrew M. Bellizzi, Chanjuan Shi, Raul S. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Criteria for the interpretation of digestive system neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) continue to evolve. Although there are some literature recommendations regarding workup and diagnosis of these lesions, different practice patterns exist among pathologists when signing out these specimens. The aim of this study was to assess practice trends among pathologists worldwide when reporting these neoplasms. Methods and results: We created an online survey with multiple questions pertaining to digestive NENs. The results were analysed based on type of practice setting, years of sign-out experience, and practice location. Respondents included 384 practicing pathologists: 70% academic, 30% private practice; 63% gastrointestinal (GI) pathology-subspecialised, 37% not; 39% North American, 42% European, 19% others; 45% with ≤10 years in practice; 55% with >10 years. Some question responses were chosen by the majority (e.g. 85% use both mitotic count and Ki67 index for grading NENs, 82% complete a synoptic, and Ki67 stain even for small incidental appendiceal neuroendocrine tumours [NETs], and 96% utilize the diagnosis of grade 3 NET). However, some questions showed varying responses, including counting mitotic figures, Ki67 stain interpretation, and pancreatic grade 3 NEN workup. Pathologists also had some variability in interpreting regional metastatic foci of small bowel NETs and in choosing blocks for Ki67 staining in multifocal lesions. Conclusion: There existed scenarios wherein practice patterns varied despite recommendations in the literature, and there were also scenarios lacking clear guidelines wherein pathologists used varying judgement. This survey highlights current key grey areas in digestive system NEN evaluation, leading to variation in practice patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-554
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • gastrointestinal tract
  • neuroendocrine
  • pathology
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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