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CAP Releases 52 Revised Cancer Protocols To Include AJCC 8th Edition Cancer Staging

Contact: Joe Schramm
Phone: 800-323-4040 ext. 7445

Northfield, IL – The College of American Pathologists (CAP) released 52 updated CAP Cancer Protocols, clinical guidelines for reporting pathologic features in the treatment of cancer patients, on June 30, 2017. The revised protocols now incorporate changes to tumor stage classification from the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) 8th Edition Cancer Staging Manual.

“The standardized reporting of pathologic information is critical to the care and treatment of cancer patients,” said Thomas P. Baker, MD, FCAP, chair of the CAP Cancer Committee. “The CAP is dedicated to the creation of the protocols in collaboration with clinical experts to provide guidelines for complete reporting of malignant tumors and optimal patient care.”

Tumor stage classification, a core element of the protocols, is an essential component of cancer care as it refers to the extent of cancer, such as how large the tumor is, and if it has spread. It helps to determine prognosis, treatment plan, and clinical trial options.

Pathologists will use the AJCC 8th Edition tumor stage classification system for cancer reporting effective January 1, 2018. The CAP released the updated cancer protocols six months ahead of implementation of the 8th Edition staging system to allow organizations and laboratory information system (LIS) vendors sufficient time to make changes in their systems reflecting these updates.

Three CAP committees, primarily made up of practicing pathologist members, are responsible for the development and maintenance of the protocols. The Cancer Committee and the Cancer Biomarkers Reporting Committee serve as content experts, while the Pathology Electronic Reporting Committee creates electronic versions, the CAP electronic Cancer Checklists (CAP eCC) of the protocols for use in an LIS. The CAP eCCs will be released along with the updated protocols.

“The committees work together to ensure protocols are reviewed and updated regularly, reflecting the latest in high quality care for patients,” Dr. Baker said. “What’s unique about the current revisions is that the new information in the AJCC staging manual required us to significantly revise almost all of our 65 Cancer Protocols; we rarely update more than a handful of protocols each year. We certainly understand how potentially disruptive it can be for hospitals and pathology practices to implement so many revised protocols which is why we released them six months early. Hopefully, this will give pathologists time to implement them.”

The CAP began developing cancer protocols in the late 1980s and early 1990s, creating 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 2017 CAP Annual Report at CAP.ORG.