Likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses modified by probability terms in canine and feline lymph node cytology: How probable is probable?

Mary M Christopher, Chieh Ko Ku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Descriptive probability modifiers are used often to convey the uncertainty of a pathology diagnosis, but they also contribute to ambiguity in communication between pathologists and clinicians. Objectives: Our goal was to determine the frequency and use of probability modifiers in canine and feline lymph node cytology diagnoses, and to determine the actual likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses with and without modifiers, based on the histologic outcome. Methods: Canine and feline lymph node cytology and histology reports over an 11-year period (2001-2011; n = 367) were evaluated retrospectively. Diagnoses were categorized as neoplastic/malignant (lymphoma, metastatic) or non-neoplastic/benign. The frequency and type of modifier, and the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for neoplasia were determined for modified and unmodified diagnoses using histology as the gold standard. Results: Ninety-one of 367 (24.8%) cytology diagnoses were modified by probability terms, including 25/204 (12.2%) diagnoses of non-neoplastic lesions and 66/163 (40.5%) diagnoses of neoplasia. In addition, 26 unmodified diagnoses of neoplasia were followed by a probability phrase indicating specific tumor type. Based on the histologic outcome, modified diagnoses had higher sensitivity (87.3%, confidence interval [CI] 75.5, 94.7%) but lower specificity (50.0%, CI 32.9, 67.1%) for neoplasia than did unmodified diagnoses (60.6 and 100%, respectively; P < 0.0001, Chi square). Modified phrases indicating the probability of a specific tumor type were accurate in 22/26 (84.6%) cases. Positive predictive values for neoplasia were 100% (CI 96.2, 100%) for unmodified and 72.7% (CI 60.4, 83.0%) for modified diagnoses. Negative predictive values were 65.9% (CI 58.5, 72.8%) for unmodified and 72.0% (CI 60.4, 83.0%) for modified diagnoses. No significant difference was found in the likelihood of neoplasia for individual terms used to modify a cytologic diagnosis except for "cannot rule out" (P = 0.0368). Conclusions: Most modified diagnoses of cancer in canine and feline lymph node cytology have a 60-83% likelihood of neoplasia based on histologic outcome, compared with 96-100% for unmodified diagnoses. Non-neoplastic lesions, regardless of modifiers, have a 12-49% likelihood of neoplasia. A limited number of risk categories based on these likelihoods may be a more effective and accurate way to communicate the risk of malignancy in lymph node cytology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number246
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume5
Issue numberOCT
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 9 2018

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Felidae
cell biology
lymph nodes
Cell Biology
Canidae
Lymph Nodes
cats
neoplasms
dogs
confidence interval
Neoplasms
Confidence Intervals
lesions (animal)
histology
Histology
lymphoma
animal communication
gold
uncertainty
Uncertainty

Keywords

  • Biopsy
  • Fine-needle aspirate
  • Lymphoma
  • Metastatic neoplasia
  • Small animal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

@article{0ff1e6443d3d451da59af47d2367a8c9,
title = "Likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses modified by probability terms in canine and feline lymph node cytology: How probable is probable?",
abstract = "Background: Descriptive probability modifiers are used often to convey the uncertainty of a pathology diagnosis, but they also contribute to ambiguity in communication between pathologists and clinicians. Objectives: Our goal was to determine the frequency and use of probability modifiers in canine and feline lymph node cytology diagnoses, and to determine the actual likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses with and without modifiers, based on the histologic outcome. Methods: Canine and feline lymph node cytology and histology reports over an 11-year period (2001-2011; n = 367) were evaluated retrospectively. Diagnoses were categorized as neoplastic/malignant (lymphoma, metastatic) or non-neoplastic/benign. The frequency and type of modifier, and the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for neoplasia were determined for modified and unmodified diagnoses using histology as the gold standard. Results: Ninety-one of 367 (24.8{\%}) cytology diagnoses were modified by probability terms, including 25/204 (12.2{\%}) diagnoses of non-neoplastic lesions and 66/163 (40.5{\%}) diagnoses of neoplasia. In addition, 26 unmodified diagnoses of neoplasia were followed by a probability phrase indicating specific tumor type. Based on the histologic outcome, modified diagnoses had higher sensitivity (87.3{\%}, confidence interval [CI] 75.5, 94.7{\%}) but lower specificity (50.0{\%}, CI 32.9, 67.1{\%}) for neoplasia than did unmodified diagnoses (60.6 and 100{\%}, respectively; P < 0.0001, Chi square). Modified phrases indicating the probability of a specific tumor type were accurate in 22/26 (84.6{\%}) cases. Positive predictive values for neoplasia were 100{\%} (CI 96.2, 100{\%}) for unmodified and 72.7{\%} (CI 60.4, 83.0{\%}) for modified diagnoses. Negative predictive values were 65.9{\%} (CI 58.5, 72.8{\%}) for unmodified and 72.0{\%} (CI 60.4, 83.0{\%}) for modified diagnoses. No significant difference was found in the likelihood of neoplasia for individual terms used to modify a cytologic diagnosis except for {"}cannot rule out{"} (P = 0.0368). Conclusions: Most modified diagnoses of cancer in canine and feline lymph node cytology have a 60-83{\%} likelihood of neoplasia based on histologic outcome, compared with 96-100{\%} for unmodified diagnoses. Non-neoplastic lesions, regardless of modifiers, have a 12-49{\%} likelihood of neoplasia. A limited number of risk categories based on these likelihoods may be a more effective and accurate way to communicate the risk of malignancy in lymph node cytology.",
keywords = "Biopsy, Fine-needle aspirate, Lymphoma, Metastatic neoplasia, Small animal",
author = "Christopher, {Mary M} and Ku, {Chieh Ko}",
year = "2018",
month = "10",
day = "9",
doi = "10.3389/fvets.2018.00246",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "5",
journal = "Frontiers in Veterinary Science",
issn = "2297-1769",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S. A.",
number = "OCT",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses modified by probability terms in canine and feline lymph node cytology

T2 - How probable is probable?

AU - Christopher, Mary M

AU - Ku, Chieh Ko

PY - 2018/10/9

Y1 - 2018/10/9

N2 - Background: Descriptive probability modifiers are used often to convey the uncertainty of a pathology diagnosis, but they also contribute to ambiguity in communication between pathologists and clinicians. Objectives: Our goal was to determine the frequency and use of probability modifiers in canine and feline lymph node cytology diagnoses, and to determine the actual likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses with and without modifiers, based on the histologic outcome. Methods: Canine and feline lymph node cytology and histology reports over an 11-year period (2001-2011; n = 367) were evaluated retrospectively. Diagnoses were categorized as neoplastic/malignant (lymphoma, metastatic) or non-neoplastic/benign. The frequency and type of modifier, and the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for neoplasia were determined for modified and unmodified diagnoses using histology as the gold standard. Results: Ninety-one of 367 (24.8%) cytology diagnoses were modified by probability terms, including 25/204 (12.2%) diagnoses of non-neoplastic lesions and 66/163 (40.5%) diagnoses of neoplasia. In addition, 26 unmodified diagnoses of neoplasia were followed by a probability phrase indicating specific tumor type. Based on the histologic outcome, modified diagnoses had higher sensitivity (87.3%, confidence interval [CI] 75.5, 94.7%) but lower specificity (50.0%, CI 32.9, 67.1%) for neoplasia than did unmodified diagnoses (60.6 and 100%, respectively; P < 0.0001, Chi square). Modified phrases indicating the probability of a specific tumor type were accurate in 22/26 (84.6%) cases. Positive predictive values for neoplasia were 100% (CI 96.2, 100%) for unmodified and 72.7% (CI 60.4, 83.0%) for modified diagnoses. Negative predictive values were 65.9% (CI 58.5, 72.8%) for unmodified and 72.0% (CI 60.4, 83.0%) for modified diagnoses. No significant difference was found in the likelihood of neoplasia for individual terms used to modify a cytologic diagnosis except for "cannot rule out" (P = 0.0368). Conclusions: Most modified diagnoses of cancer in canine and feline lymph node cytology have a 60-83% likelihood of neoplasia based on histologic outcome, compared with 96-100% for unmodified diagnoses. Non-neoplastic lesions, regardless of modifiers, have a 12-49% likelihood of neoplasia. A limited number of risk categories based on these likelihoods may be a more effective and accurate way to communicate the risk of malignancy in lymph node cytology.

AB - Background: Descriptive probability modifiers are used often to convey the uncertainty of a pathology diagnosis, but they also contribute to ambiguity in communication between pathologists and clinicians. Objectives: Our goal was to determine the frequency and use of probability modifiers in canine and feline lymph node cytology diagnoses, and to determine the actual likelihood of neoplasia for diagnoses with and without modifiers, based on the histologic outcome. Methods: Canine and feline lymph node cytology and histology reports over an 11-year period (2001-2011; n = 367) were evaluated retrospectively. Diagnoses were categorized as neoplastic/malignant (lymphoma, metastatic) or non-neoplastic/benign. The frequency and type of modifier, and the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for neoplasia were determined for modified and unmodified diagnoses using histology as the gold standard. Results: Ninety-one of 367 (24.8%) cytology diagnoses were modified by probability terms, including 25/204 (12.2%) diagnoses of non-neoplastic lesions and 66/163 (40.5%) diagnoses of neoplasia. In addition, 26 unmodified diagnoses of neoplasia were followed by a probability phrase indicating specific tumor type. Based on the histologic outcome, modified diagnoses had higher sensitivity (87.3%, confidence interval [CI] 75.5, 94.7%) but lower specificity (50.0%, CI 32.9, 67.1%) for neoplasia than did unmodified diagnoses (60.6 and 100%, respectively; P < 0.0001, Chi square). Modified phrases indicating the probability of a specific tumor type were accurate in 22/26 (84.6%) cases. Positive predictive values for neoplasia were 100% (CI 96.2, 100%) for unmodified and 72.7% (CI 60.4, 83.0%) for modified diagnoses. Negative predictive values were 65.9% (CI 58.5, 72.8%) for unmodified and 72.0% (CI 60.4, 83.0%) for modified diagnoses. No significant difference was found in the likelihood of neoplasia for individual terms used to modify a cytologic diagnosis except for "cannot rule out" (P = 0.0368). Conclusions: Most modified diagnoses of cancer in canine and feline lymph node cytology have a 60-83% likelihood of neoplasia based on histologic outcome, compared with 96-100% for unmodified diagnoses. Non-neoplastic lesions, regardless of modifiers, have a 12-49% likelihood of neoplasia. A limited number of risk categories based on these likelihoods may be a more effective and accurate way to communicate the risk of malignancy in lymph node cytology.

KW - Biopsy

KW - Fine-needle aspirate

KW - Lymphoma

KW - Metastatic neoplasia

KW - Small animal

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85054659775&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85054659775&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fvets.2018.00246

DO - 10.3389/fvets.2018.00246

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85054659775

VL - 5

JO - Frontiers in Veterinary Science

JF - Frontiers in Veterinary Science

SN - 2297-1769

IS - OCT

M1 - 246

ER -