Interobserver agreement in hepatitis C grading and staging and in the Banff grading schema for acute cellular rejection: The "Hepatitis C 3" multi-institutional trial experience

Academic Article


  • Context. - Establishing adequate interobserver agreement is crucial not only for standardization of patient care but also to ensure validity of findings in multi-institutional trials. Objective. - To evaluate interobserver agreement in assessing chronic hepatitis C (HCV) and acute cellular rejection (ACR) among 17 hepatopathologists involved in the "Hepatitis C 3" trial. Design. - The trial is a randomized multicenter (17 institutions) study involving 312 patients undergoing transplantation for HCV. Patients are randomized to 3 treatment arms. For final data analysis, all biopsy specimens are reviewed by a central pathologist (G.J.N.). Recurrence of HCV is evaluated according to the Batts and Ludwig schema. The 1997 Banff schema is used to evaluate ACR. To assess interobserver agreement, hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections from 11 liver biopsy specimens (6 HCV and 5 ACR) were sent by the central pathologist to 16 local pathologists from 13 institutions. Statistical analysis was performed on raw ACR/HCV data as well as data grouped according to clinically significant primary endpoint cutoffs. Results. - Statistically significant agreement was found among all participating pathologists (P < .001). On κ analysis, the degree of agreement was rated "moderate" for HCV grade and stage and ACR global grading (κ = 0.30, 0.33, and 0.37, respectively). Interobserver agreement was weaker for rejection activity index scoring of ACR (κ = 0.15). A stronger degree of agreement was found when scores were grouped based on endpoint cutoffs (κ = 0.76 "almost perfect" for HCV and 0.62 "substantial" for ACR). Conclusions. - An overall statistically significant interobserver agreement was found among 17 pathologists using the 1997 Banff schema and the Batts and Ludwig schema.
  • Author List

  • Netto GJ; Watkins DL; Williams JW; Colby TV; DePetris G; Sharkey FE; Corless CL; Lewin D; Petrovic L; Sharma S
  • Start Page

  • 1157
  • End Page

  • 1162
  • Volume

  • 130
  • Issue

  • 8