Ki-67 proliferative index (PI) has prognostic and predictive value in invasive breast carcinoma (IBC), but clinical uptake has been hampered by suboptimal accuracy, reproducibility and standardisation. Published guidelines have addressed pre-analytical and analytical factors to improve Ki-67 PI utility; however, practicalities of ongoing monitoring of Ki-67 PI quality in IBC reporting have not been established. We aimed to evaluate the internal and external quality of our established digital Ki-67 PI IBC reporting practice at a tertiary institution.
In the 5 years since initial validation work, we've completed a series of internal and external quality assurance (QA) projects: (1) an interobserver agreement study, (2) a two site interlaboratory agreement study, (3) determination of the error of our Ki-67 results, (4) an audit of the year-toyear Ki-67 values, (5) an audit of Ki-67 in neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) treated cases, and (6) comparison of our Ki-67 datasets with similar published datasets.
There was excellent concordance (intra-class correlation = 0.98) and good agreement [kappa (k) = 0.76-0.96] between pathologists, excellent concordance [Pearson correlation (R) = 0.94] and very good agreement (k = 0.80) between laboratories and excellent concordance (R = 0.92-0.95) and good agreement (k = 0.67-1.0) over time for our Ki-67 results. No significant difference was observed in Ki-67 data from year-to-year. Expected associations with clinico-pathological prognosticators, pathological complete response following NAC and mitotic index were evident. The median Ki-67 values from the overall and NAC treated datasets were within the range reported in other studies, and our data could be separated into similarly proportioned 'high' and 'low' Ki-67 PI groups when dichotomised as per protocols in other studies.
Collectively, our work provides evidence of adequate internal and external quality control for our digital Ki-67 PI IBC reporting protocols. Given the paucity of formal Ki-67 QA programs, our approach could be emulated, and results compared between laboratories as a framework for internal and external Ki-67 QA.