Newswise — Northfield, IL—The College of American Pathologists (CAP) released updates to the CAP Cancer Protocols, clinical guidance for reporting pathologic features in the treatment of cancer patients, in late June 2021. The updates include changes to the CAP Biomarker Protocols which provide reporting guidance for commonly ordered biomarkers.

New or significantly revised protocols, accessible at Cancer Protocol Templates, include:

  • Prostate needle biopsy, specimen level
  • Prostate needle biopsy, case level
  • Quantitative immunohistochemistry (IHC) reporting
  • Head and neck biomarkers
  • Lung biomarkers

“Since the late 1980s, when the CAP embarked on the creation of the first cancer protocols, the CAP has been committed to standardized reporting of pathologic information, knowing its importance for patient care and treatment,” said Joseph D. Khoury, MD, FCAP, CAP Cancer Committee chair. “Further, we work in partnership with colleagues across medical disciplines and practice settings to ensure content accuracy and utility in medical practice. Collaboration is critical to the development of our protocols.”

Collaborations also include the CAP working with cancer standards organizations to incorporate their criteria and guidelines in CAP protocols. Examples of such changes in the June 2021 release are:

  • Updates in the gynecologic, bone and soft tissue, and thorax protocols to reflect the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours, 5th Edition
  • Changes to how some pathologic stage classifications or TNM classifications from the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) are used.

Two CAP committees, primarily made up of practicing pathologist members, are responsible for the development and maintenance of the protocols. The Cancer Committee serves as content expert body. The Pathology Electronic Reporting Committee creates electronic versions, the CAP electronic Cancer Checklists (CAP eCC) of the protocols for use in a laboratory information system. Biomarker protocols were developed by a workgroup comprised of pathologists from both committees. The CAP eCCs will be released along with the updated protocols.

The CAP develops cancer protocols by bringing together multidisciplinary teams of medical experts, led by CAP Cancer Committee members, to facilitate comprehensive pathology reporting of cancer specimens. In 2004, the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons introduced standards for accreditation of cancer centers that included a requirement to use the CAP Cancer Protocols. The CAP also requires the use of cancer protocols for its laboratory accreditation program, which accredits nearly 8,000 laboratories worldwide.

About the College of American Pathologists

As the world's largest organization of board-certified pathologists and leading provider of laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing programs, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. For more information, read the CAP Annual Report.