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Vienna classification of gastric epithelial tumors - Humpath.com - Human pathology

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Vienna classification of gastric epithelial tumors

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Vienna classification of gastric neoplasms

Vienna classification of gastric neoplasms

The proposed classification is a five categories system.


This category encompasses either completely normal gastric mucosa or various gastritides (Helicobacter pylorigastritis) or gastropathies (bile reflux gastritis/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) related gastropathy) as well as intestinal metaplasia.


This diagnosis should be rendered when there is uncertainty about the nature of the lesion, whether it represents a regenerative/reactive process or a neoplastic lesion.

The cause of the diagnostic difficulty might be secondary to inflammation (sometimes related to H pylorigastritis) or reactive chemical changes (bile reflux gastritis, NSAID gastropathy) or because of the inadequacy of the specimen (small size, crushing artefact).


This represents an unequivocal neoplastic process with low risk of malignant degeneration. It roughly corresponds to the generally previously accepted low grade dysplasia.


These are a group of lesions with features more severe than those seen in low grade dysplasia but without unequivocal invasion. This category has been subdivided into three groups:

- 4.1 high grade adenoma/dysplasia;
- 4.2 non-invasive carcinoma (carcinoma in situ);
- 4.3 suspicious for invasive carcinoma.

The grouping of those three different types of lesions is important in order to achieve a high interobserver agreement among pathologists, whether under Japanese or Western influence in terms of diagnosis of gastric dysplasia. The word “non-invasive” stands for the absence of evident invasion.

It places together a lesion that Japanese pathologists would classify as carcinoma based on the presence of notable cytological alterations (carcinoma in situ) but that most Western pathologists would interpret as high grade dysplasia because of the absence of invasion.


This category encompasses:

- 5.1 intramucosal carcinoma
- 5.2 submucosal carcinoma or beyond

Intramucosal carcinoma corresponds to adenocarcinoma with invasion limited to the lamina propria or the muscularis mucosa.

It was also hoped that this classification could be applied throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

Several working groups have been set up to determine the feasibility of this system in different segments of the gastrointestinal tract including squamous oesophagus, Barrett’s oesophagus, stomach, small bowel, large bowel, and anus.

The different issues to be settled include:
- (a) the usefulness of the terminology, ensuring that the divisions between and within each category are defined well enough that there is good interobserver reproducibility, thereby allowing the system to be used internationally,
- (b) that there is consistency of terminology in different organs within the gastrointestinal tract,
- (c) its acceptability by the pathology and gastroenterology communities at large if all of these problems are resolved.

Participants at the Vienna Meeting

F Borchard, H S Cooper, S M Dawsey, M F Dixon, C M Fenoglio-Preiser, J-F Fléjou, K Geboes, T Hattori, T Hirota, M Itabashi, M Iwafuchi, A Iwashita, Y Kato, Y I Kim, T Kirchner, M Klimpfinger, M Koike, G Y Lauwers, K J Lewin, G Oberhuber, A B Price, R H Riddell, C A Rubio, M Rugge, R J Schlemper, M Shimizu, T Shimoda, P Sipponen, E Solcia, M Stolte, H Watanabe, H Yamabe.

Open references

- Efficacy of the revised Vienna Classification for diagnosing colorectal epithelial neoplasias. Tominaga K, Fujinuma S, Endo T, Saida Y, Takahashi K, Maetani I. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 May 21;15(19):2351-6. PMID: (19452577)


- Review of histological classifications of gastrointestinal epithelial neoplasia: differences in diagnosis of early carcinomas between Japanese and Western pathologists. Schlemper RJ, Kato Y, Stolte M. J Gastroenterol. 2001 Jul;36(7):445-56. Review. PMID: 11480788

- Gastric epithelial dysplasia. Gut 1999;45:784 by Gregory Y Lauwers, MD, Department of Pathology, University of Florida, PO Box 100275, Gainesville, FL 32610–0275, USA. E-mail: lauwers.pathology@mail.health.ufl.edu