AIMS--To evaluate the ability of histopathologists to classify lung carcinomas on bronchial biopsy material using the current World Health Organisation (WHO) classification. METHODS--Eleven histopathologists each reviewed 100 randomly selected bronchial biopsy specimens which had originally been reported as showing lung carcinoma. A single haematoxylin and eosin stained section from each case was circulated and a standard proforma completed. These were analysed using kappa statistics. RESULTS--The histopathologists were excellent at distinguishing between small cell and non-small-cell carcinoma kappa = 0.86), but not so good at subclassifying the non-small cell carcinoma group kappa = 0.25). CONCLUSIONS--The clinically important distinction between small cell and non-small cell carcinoma of the lung is reliably made by competent histopathologists even on limited material.
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