EPL is a nationally and internationally recognized organizer and provider of Pathology Working Groups (PWG), a specialized type of pathology peer review process.  Unlike routine peer review, which is performed by a single pathologist, each PWG panel consists of a group of expert pathologists convened to provide an independent unbiased opinion pertaining to a specific topic of interest.  This topic may involve diagnostic questions emanating from the results of one or more studies, or it may concern a previously unresolved subject of debate within the field of toxicologic pathology.

A book chapter co-authored by EPL pathologists Drs. Peter Mann and Jerry F. Hardisty, serves as an informative and comphrehensive reference concerning the goals of PWGs, the types of issues generally targeted, processes and procedures for conducting a PWG, and the creation and use of PWG reports (Mann and Hardisty, 2013).  The chapter additionally provides numerous suggested references that further the reader’s understanding of the function and practical application of pathology working groups.

A PWG panel generally consists of five voting members plus a non-voting PWG chairperson who leads the session.  The chairperson also coordinates and prepares the data for the PWG, and typically spearheads the creation of the PWG report. The PWG members review the slides in a coded manner, without knowledge of previous diagnoses or treatment group.  After the PWG members examine all slides and discuss the findings, the chairperson prepares a draft report of the PWG’s findings, interpretations, and conclusions for the panel to discuss and edit. All members of the panel and the chairperson sign the final PWG report.

Pathology Working Groups may convene to answer any number of specific questions.

Some situations where a PWG might be useful include:
Studies with final reports
Pivotal studies with controversial endpoints
Questions of specific concern to regulatory agencies
Comparison of results from multiple studies conducted and evaluated by different laboratories and/or pathologists
Mediation of important discrepancies between study and reviewing pathologists

EPL has unparalleled experience in organizing and conducting Pathology Working Groups pertaining to a diverse range of issues and concerns.  Pathology Working Groups are not a routine component of the quality review process for every toxicologic study but are extremely helpful at answering specific questions regarding diagnostic differences or results interpretation. The opinions of an independent panel of experts often carry a great deal of weight with regulatory agencies, and this process has been used to successfully resolve many difficult and complex situations.

Mann, P.C., Hardisty, J.F., 2013. Peer Review and Pathology Working Groups. In: Haschek, W.M., Rousseaux, C.G., Wallig, M.A. (Eds.), Haschek and Rousseaux’s Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology. Elsevier Inc., Academic Press, pp. 551–564.

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Please contact EPL if you want to discuss an issue that may be resolved through the conduct of a Pathology Working Group.