History of IQN Path

A short history of IQN Path

Every year over the last 4 years an informal group of European External Quality Assessment providers active in the field of molecular pathology met in Naples, Italy in a forum organized by the AIOM (the Italian Society of Oncology) and the European Society of Pathology (ESP).

This focus group would exchange ideas and updates on the recent developments in the quality assessment in Europe in the field of molecular testing. The meeting regularly included speakers from academia, industries, pharma, diagnostic companies, and national quality assurance organizers.

Members of this informal group also organized exchange of anonymous EQA data in order to better optimize EQA scheme design and perform research on quality indicators of biomarker testing. This resulted in a European database to standardize external quality assessment evaluation for acquired mutations in molecular pathology (http://www.esp-pathology.org/society/qa-activities/european-database-to-standardize-eqa-evaluation-for-acquired-mutations-in-molecular-pathology.html).

During this period and from these activities, several publications from this group have arisen (Ref 1-4).

In 2014, given the increasing awareness for advances in the field of biomarker quality an initiative suggested by Prof Han van Krieken during his presidency of the ESP was proposed – to organise these working group activities into a new organization as an umbrella association for EQA providers in pathology.

In September 2014, an international EQA meeting was held in London just prior to the European Society of Pathology (ESP) congress. This focus group included EQA providers internationally in the field of in situ-based schemes e.g. IHC, FISH etc.

With this impetus from several groups, the concept for the International Quality Network of Pathology (IQN Path) was born.

The proposal to create IQN Path was further discussed and accepted during the Naples meeting in April 2015.

This included:
1/ expanding the scope of activities to include different technologies, as over time different methods and technologies will arise for which quality matters will need to be addressed
2/ an international remit with membership open to EQA providers from around the world

In recognition of informal European molecular EQA group who have been working together for a number of years, EQA providers from this group were invited to be founding members of IQN Path each with a seat on the IQN Path Executive Board for the first 3 years to help start and to shape the organization in the early days of its creation.

Other EQA providers fulfilling the Full Membership criteria are also welcome to join as Full Members. For a list of current members please see the Membership page.

In three years time, elections for the Executive Board positions will be held whereby any Full Members (European or non-European) in good standing may put their candidacy forward for election (please see the IQN Path statutes for further details).


1) Guideline on the requirements of external quality assessment programs in molecular pathology. Virchows Archiv : an international journal of pathology, 462(1), 27–37. doi:10.1007/s00428-012-1354-4
2) Normanno, N., Pinto, C., Taddei, G., Gambacorta, M., Castiglione, F., Barberis, M., Clemente, C., et al. (2013). Results of the First Italian External Quality Assurance Scheme for Somatic EGFR Mutation Testing in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Journal of thoracic oncology : official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e31828c2b08
3) Thunnissen, E., Bovée, J. V. M. G., Bruinsma, H., Van den Brule, A. J. C., Dinjens, W., Heideman, D. A. M., Meulemans, E., et al. (2011). EGFR and KRAS quality assurance schemes in pathology: generating normative data for molecular predictive marker analysis in targeted therapy. Journal of clinical pathology, 64(10), 884–92. doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2011-200163
4) Van Krieken, J. H., Normanno, N., Blackhall, F., Boone, E., Botti, G., Carneiro, F., Celik, I., et al. (2013).