Purpose: Tumour budding (TB) is an important adverse prognostic factor in colon cancer, which can also guide adjuvant treatment in stage II colorectal carcinoma. The International Tumor Budding Consensus Conference (ITBCC) recommended a three-tiered scoring system to streamline the scoring of budding across the globe. The goal of this survey is to understand the variation in reporting practice, globally.
Methods: A short survey was designed as an online questionnaire and shared via social media platforms and emails to pathology society groups in various countries.
Results: A majority of the 294 respondents (186/294; 63.3%) report budding in colorectal carcinoma. This figure differed significantly from 53.4% in Asia to 97.4% in North America. The most common (56.4%) reason for not reporting TB was because it is yet not a mandatory recommendation in the various datasets (e.g. The College of American Pathologists). The majority (78.9%) of the people who were reporting TB, used the ITBCC scoring system (scoring on a single hotspot 20× field). Most used 10× objective for screening (88.7%) and scored only at the invasive front (88.7%). Immunohistochemistry (8.6%) or deeper cuts (24.2%) were rarely used. TB scoring took 10 minutes or less in most (87.1%).
Conclusion: Though budding is well accepted among specialist gastrointestinal pathologists, it is still not universally accepted as an important prognostic parameter across the globe. The hesitancy for reporting is due to a combination of lack of clinical demand and extra effort and time involved in counting the ITBCC score.