Biomarker reporting has increasingly become a key component of pathology reporting, providing diagnostic, prognostic, and actionable therapeutic data for patient care.


To expand and improve the College of American Pathologists (CAP) biomarker protocols.


We surveyed CAP members to better understand the limitations they experienced when reporting cancer biomarker results. A Biomarker Workgroup reviewed the survey results and developed a strategy to improve and standardize biomarker reporting. Drafts of new and revised biomarker protocols were reviewed in both print and electronic template formats during interactive webinars presented to the CAP House of Delegates. Feedback was collected, and appropriate revisions were made to finalize the protocols.


The first phase of the CAP Biomarker Workgroup saw the development of (1) a new stand-alone general Immunohistochemistry Biomarker Protocol that includes reporting for ER (estrogen receptor), PR (progesterone receptor), Ki-67, HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), PD-L1 (programmed death ligand-1), and mismatch repair; (2) a new Head and Neck Biomarker Protocol that updates the prior 2017 paper-only version into an electronic template, adding new diagnostic and theranostic markers; (3) a major revision to the Lung Biomarker Protocol to streamline it and add in pan-cancer markers; and (4) a revision to the Colon and Rectum Biomarker Protocol to add HER2 reporting.


We have taken a multipronged approach to improving biomarker reporting in the CAP cancer protocols. We continue to review current biomarker reporting protocols to reduce and eliminate unnecessary methodologic details and update with new markers as needed. The biomarker templates will serve as standardized modular units that can be inserted into cancer-reporting protocols.

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Competing Interests

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

Author notes

Portions of these data were presented as a poster at the Association for Molecular Pathology Annual Meeting 2021; November 20, 2021; Virtual.

All authors are current or past members of the College of American Pathologists Cancer Committee and Pathology Electronic Reporting Committee.