The World Health Organization Classification of Tumors: Digestive System Tumors, 5th edition, was published in 2019 and shows several impactful changes as compared with the 4th edition published in 2010. Changes include a revised nomenclature of serrated lesions and revamping the classification of neuroendocrine neoplasms. Appendiceal goblet cell adenocarcinoma is heavily revised, and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is split into 2 subtypes. New subtypes of colorectal carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma are described. Precursor lesions are emphasized with their own entries, and both dysplastic and invasive lesions are generally recommended to be graded using a 2-tier system. Hematolymphoid tumors, mesenchymal tumors, and genetic tumor syndromes each have their own sections in the 5th edition. New hematolymphoid lesions include monomorphic epitheliotropic intestinal T-cell lymphoma; duodenal-type follicular lymphoma; intestinal T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified; and indolent T-cell lymphoproliferative disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. This paper will provide an in-depth look at the changes in the 5th edition as compared with the 4th edition.


To provide a comprehensive, in-depth update on the World Health Organization classification of digestive tumors, including changes to nomenclature, updated diagnostic criteria, and newly described entities.

Data Sources.—

The 5th edition of the World Health Organization Classification of Tumours: Digestive System Tumours, as well as the 4th edition.


The World Health Organization has made many key changes in its newest update on tumors of the digestive system. Pathologists should be aware of these changes and incorporate them into their practice as able or necessary.

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Author notes

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.