Reliability of diagnosis from Mohs slides: interpersonal and intrapersonal agreement on basal cell carcinoma presence and histological subtype*

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Abstract

Background

The success of Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) depends partly on the correct diagnosis of slides.

Objectives

To determine reliability of diagnosis from Mohs slides.

Methods

This was a prospective study evaluating the reliability of diagnosis from Mohs slides of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) presence, BCC location on the slide and BCC subtype among six raters who independently assessed 50 Mohs slides twice with a 2-month interval. Slides were randomly selected whereby difficult-to-diagnose slides were oversampled. For each slide, a reference diagnosis was established by an expert panel. Cohen's kappa (κ) was calculated to determine levels of agreement interpersonally (rater vs. reference diagnosis) and intrapersonally (rater at T1 vs. T2). Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine independent risk factors for slides with interpersonal discordant diagnosis. The variables studied were BCC presence, whether a slide was scored as easy or difficult to diagnose, review duration of the 50 slides, profession and years of experience in diagnosis from Mohs slides.

Results

Interpersonal and intrapersonal agreement were substantial on BCC presence (κ = 0·66 and 0·68) and moderate on BCC subtype (κ = 0·45 and 0·55). Slides that were scored as difficult to diagnose were an independent risk factor for interpersonal discordant diagnosis on BCC presence (odds ratio 3·54, 95% confidence interval 1·81–6·84).

Conclusions

Reliability of diagnosis from Mohs slides was substantial on BCC presence and moderate on BCC subtype. For slides that are scored difficult to diagnose, a second opinion is recommended to prevent misinterpretation and thereby recurrence of skin cancer.

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