Clinicopathological consistency in skin disorders: A retrospective study of 3949 pathological reports

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Although the clinicopathological approach plays an important role in skin disorder diagnoses, few studies have evaluated the consistency between clinical and histopathological diagnoses of skin disorders.


We sought to investigate the consistency, and factors affecting consistency, between clinical diagnoses and pathological diagnoses in patients with skin disorders referred for biopsy by dermatologists.


We retrospectively examined 3949 pathological reports of biopsy specimens, between 1999 and 2008. The relationships between clinical and pathological diagnoses were studied in 4 groups, namely: (1) definite pathological diagnoses consistent with the clinical diagnoses, (2) descriptive pathological diagnoses consistent with the clinical diagnoses, (3) definite pathological diagnoses inconsistent with the clinical diagnoses, and (4) descriptive pathological diagnoses inconsistent with the clinical diagnoses. The first two groups show consistency, whereas the latter two groups show inconsistency between the diagnoses.


The pathological diagnoses were consistent with the clinical diagnoses in 3034 biopsy reports (76.8%), and they were inconsistent in 915 reports (23.2%). In all types of skin disorders, clinicopathological consistency was higher in patients with sufficient clinical descriptive information. No correlation was observed between clinicopathological consistency and biopsy type, number of clinical diagnoses, or specifying the location of disease. Disease duration was shorter in the biopsy reports showing clinicopathological consistency. Moreover, a statistically significant increase was found in clinicopathological consistency for inflammatory dermatoses, when pathologists evaluated the specimens with clinical diagnoses, in comparison with blind evaluation.


The retrospective nature of the study might have resulted in a loss of data.


In a dermatology clinic setting, providing sufficient clinical descriptive information for pathology requisition forms increases the probability of making an accurate diagnosis.

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