The original concept for an international collaboration to standardize cancer pathology reports worldwide was developed by David Ellis and John Srigley following meetings in Sydney and Banff in 2009. With strong support from founding project manager, Meagan Judge and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA), the team engaged with pathology colleges in the United Kingdom (RCPath) and USA (CAP) and the Canadian Association of Pathologists (CAP-ACP) in association with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), leading to formation of the International Collaboration of Cancer Reporting (ICCR) in 2011.
The ICCR was established with a view to reducing the global burden of cancer dataset development and reduplication of effort by the different international institutions that commission, publish and maintain standardised cancer reporting datasets.
The ICCR recognised that a coordinated effort on cancer reporting would offer synergies and have far–reaching benefits for those involved as well as for those countries that are not in a position to develop their own datasets. The development of a single internationally agreed dataset for each tumour has the following benefits:
- Dataset production by a single organisation avoids reduplication of cancer pathology dataset development in many different jurisdictions. Producing datasets is a significant burden upon each country and creates risks for interoperability and international comparison.
- In developing a single international standard it becomes possible to engage the best international expertise and ensure that there is a common meaning and definition for all data elements with consistent application of value lists.
- The creation of a single, defined, evidence-based dataset for each cancer simplifies, and reduces the costs of electronic implementation by standardising laboratory information system data structures, terminology bindings and electronic messaging.
- Development of a single agency with high-level input and good governance can facilitate timely revision and adoption in the light of ever more rapidly emerging predictive biomarkers.
- Datasets created with international governance will be available to developing countries that have insufficient resources to develop their own.
- Internationally derived datasets carry sufficient authority to encourage uniform uptake of a single standard across the world, essential for international data comparison and benchmarking.
ICCR datasets also provide the single best way for the existing dataset producers (RCPath, CAP and RCPA) to align and synchronise efforts.
The quadripartite alliance signed an initial agreement to collaborate in February 2011 agreeing to work towards the standardisation of an initial four cancer datasets. The dataset writing groups, comprising many world-leading experts in their fields, produced cancer datasets for lung, melanoma, prostate (radical prostatectomy), and endometrial carcinoma. The methodology used for dataset development was different for each of the expert writing groups, but nonetheless internationally agreed, evidence-based cancer datasets of the highest standard were produced, all of which have been subject to international open consultation and published in peer-reviewed journals. By using different processes for collaboration in each of the expert groups, the ICCR were able to optimise the method for future international dataset development efforts.
Following on from the success of this pilot project, the ICCR was joined by the European Society of Pathology (ESP) in 2013.
The ICCR incorporated as a not–for–profit organisation in 2014 to support membership expansion and continued development efforts.