SWOT Analysis of Banff: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the International Banff Consensus Process and Classification System for Renal Allograft Pathology

Authors

  • M. Mengel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Immunology, Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre
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  • B. Sis,

    1. Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Immunology, Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre
    2. Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
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  • P. F. Halloran

    1. Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Immunology, Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre
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* Corresponding author: Michael Mengel, mmengel@ualberta.ca

Abstract

The Banff process defined the diagnostic histologic lesions for renal allograft rejection and created a standardized classification system where none had existed. By correcting this deficit the process had universal impact on clinical practice and clinical and basic research. All trials of new drugs since the early 1990s benefited, because the Banff classification of lesions permitted the end point of biopsy-proven rejection. The Banff process has strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The strength is its self-organizing group structure to create consensus. Consensus does not mean correctness: defining consensus is essential if a widely held view is to be proved wrong. The weaknesses of the Banff process are the absence of an independent external standard to test the classification; and its almost exclusive reliance on histopathology, which has inherent limitations in intra- and interobserver reproducibility, particularly at the interface between borderline and rejection, is exactly where clinicians demand precision. The opportunity lies in the new technology such as transcriptomics, which can form an external standard and can be incorporated into a new classification combining the elegance of histopathology and the objectivity of transcriptomics. The threat is the degree to which the renal transplant community will participate in and support this process.

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