Interobserver agreement of scoring of histopathological characteristics and classification of lupus nephritis.
SourceNephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation, 23, 1, (2008), pp. 223-30
Article / Letter to editor
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Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
SubjectIGMD 9: Renal disorder; N4i 4: Auto-immunity, transplantation and immunotherapy; NCMLS 1: Infection and autoimmunity; UMCN 4.2: Chronic inflammation and autoimmunity; UMCN 5.4: Renal disorders
BACKGROUND: Assessing renal biopsies from patients with lupus nephritis (LN) is a difficult task and it is subject to interobserver variability. In this study the interobserver agreement amongst five nephropathologists was analysed. METHODS: Five specialized nephropathologists scored 126 biopsies, comprising 87 first and 39 repeat biopsies from 87 patients with biopsy-proven proliferative LN, included in a randomized controlled trial. The interobserver agreement [expressed as intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC)] of the scored histopathological items was calculated. Also, the WHO1995 and ISN/RPS2003 classification systems for LN were compared, with extra attention being given to the comparison between patients with diffuse proliferative LN with either segmental (IV-S) or global (IV-G) lesions. RESULTS: There was a wide range of agreement. A good interobserver agreement (ICC>0.6) was present in 15%, and a moderate interobserver agreement (ICC 0.4-0.6) in 31% of the scored items. The activity index for LN showed a good (ICC 0.716) and the chronicity index a moderate (ICC 0.494) interobserver agreement. Both classification systems showed low agreement, although consensus was easily reached. Patients classified as IV-S (n=15) had more favorable clinical parameters at study entry than those with class IV-G (n=57). Although suggested by others, we found no differences in outcome between these two subclasses. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that, although definitions were agreed upon beforehand, even specialized on nephropathologists have difficulties with scoring histopathological characteristics of LN, particularly with SLE the classification systems.
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