International Guidelines for Veterinary Tumor Pathology: A Call to Action
Standardization of tumor assessment lays the foundation for validation of grading systems, permits reproducibility of oncologic studies among investigators, and increases confidence in the significance of study results. Currently, there is minimal methodological standardization for assessing tumors in veterinary medicine, with few attempts to validate published protocols and grading schemes. The current article attempts to address these shortcomings by providing standard guidelines for tumor assessment parameters and protocols for evaluating specific tumor types. More detailed information is available in the Supplemental Files, the intention of which is 2-fold: publication as part of this commentary, but more importantly, these will be available as “living documents” on a website (www.vetcancerprotocols.org), which will be updated as new information is presented in the peer-reviewed literature. Our hope is that veterinary pathologists will agree that this initiative is needed, and will contribute to and utilize this information for routine diagnostic work and oncologic studies. Journal editors and reviewers can utilize checklists to ensure publications include sufficient detail and standardized methods of tumor assessment. To maintain the relevance of the guidelines and protocols, it is critical that the information is periodically updated and revised as new studies are published and validated with the intent of providing a repository of this information. Our hope is that this initiative (a continuation of efforts published in this journal in 2011) will facilitate collaboration and reproducibility between pathologists and institutions, increase case numbers, and strengthen clinical research findings, thus ensuring continued progress in veterinary oncologic pathology and improving patient care.