Interobserver variability in the classification of childhood maculopapular cutaneous mastocytosis

A. Torrelo*, L. Vergara-de-la-Campa, J. M. Azaña, S. Greenberger, J. M. Lam, L. P. Lawley, M. A. Morren, J. V. Schaffer, I. García-Doval, A. Matito, I. Alvarez-Twose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Maculopapular cutaneous mastocytosis (MPCM) in children is classified in two variants: (i) monomorphic variant, presenting with the small macules or papules typically seen in adult patients; and (ii) polymorphic variant with larger lesions of variable size and shape, typically seen in children. The definition of polymorphic and monomorphic variants is mostly intuitive, and a validation of this classification has not been done. Objective: To study interobserver variability in the classification of MPCM in two groups of observers: mastocytosis experts and general dermatologists. Materials and methods: Nineteen cases of childhood MPCM were shown blindly, for classification as monomorphic or polymorphic type, to 10 independent observers (eight dermatologists, one allergist and one haematologist) from Europe and North America with a vast experience in the management of paediatric mastocytosis. Also, the same cases were shown on a screen to 129 general dermatologists attending a meeting; their votes were registered by remote controls. The interobserver variability kappa coefficient (with 95% confidence interval) was calculated to measure the reliability of the correlation. Results: The value of kappa interobserver variability coefficient for the group of 10 experts (95% confidence interval) was 0.39 (0.18–0.63), which is considered as ‘fair’. The value of kappa interobserver variability coefficient for the group of 129 general dermatologists (95% confidence interval) was 0.17 (0.06–0.39), which is considered as ‘slight’. A complete agreement of all 10 experts was achieved in only four of 19 cases (21.1%) The most voted choice was concordant between the two groups in only 11 of the 19 cases. Conclusions: We failed to validate the classification system of childhood MPCM in monomorphic and polymorphic types. While the rate of agreement was low for mastocytosis experts, it was nearly the agreement expected by chance in general dermatologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2079-2084
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


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