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ASCP 2013 Chicago Series Examines Best Practices to Overcome Diagnostic Challenges

Monday, August 12, 2013

A single broken link in the gathering and testing of a high quality biopsy can significantly affect the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with cancer. The challenges of gathering, processing, and transporting a high quality biopsy for determining a diagnosis of breast cancer will be the focus of a special three-part educational series at ASCP 2013 Chicago.

“The problem with testing is that a single broken link, such as a single core biopsy, can destroy the sample even before the sample gets to the lab. Throughout the process, quality control challenges can occur in many areas that ultimately affect the diagnosis.”
—Shiwen Song, MD, PhD, FASCP
The “HER2 Breast Cancer Quality Testing Subtrack,” funded by an educational grant from Genentech, will collectively tell a story, identifying the core competency needs of obtaining a high quality biopsy specimen, best practices of obtaining the specimen, and solutions.

“The problem with testing is that a single broken link, such as a single core biopsy, can destroy the sample even before the sample gets to the lab,” says Shiwen Song, MD, PhD, FASCP, ASCP Chief Science Officer. “Throughout the process, quality control challenges can occur in many areas that ultimately affect the diagnosis.”

The first session, “Common Consultation Conundrums in Breast Pathology,” led by Sandra Shin, MD, FASCP, on Sept. 19 from 10 to 11 a.m., will provide pathologists with a practical approach to such problematic breast lesions that they can apply in their daily practice. Topics will include diagnostic problems with papillary, fibroepithelial, columnar cell and in situ lesions, and small glandular proliferations. The application and pitfalls of adjunctive immunohistochemical studies used to help resolve these differential diagnostic dilemmas will be emphasized.

The second session, “Best Practices for Immunochemical Detection and Interpretation,” taught by Richard Caturn, PhD, MS, on Sept. 19, from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m., will examine best practices for breast biospecimen collection, fixation and processing, and tissue sectioning, as well as immunohistochemical staining for ER, PR, and HER2 protein over-expression. The use of fluorescence in situ hybridization for HER-2/neu gene amplification will also be addressed.

The series ends with an illuminating two-hour session, “Existing, Evolving and Emerging Prognostics and Predictive Factors in Breast Carcinoma,” that ties it all together. Led by pathologist Syed Hoda, MD, FASCP, and oncologist Anne Moore, MD, on Sept. 21 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., this session examines what the future holds for emerging technologies to detect and treat breast cancer.

“This series came about because our members saw the need for the laboratory team to address these critical patient issues of quality diagnostic for breast cancer,” Dr. Song says.

The three-part series will be recorded, so that it can be disseminated as online enduring materials to a wider audience. ASCP members will receive access to these enduring courses with their re.member MOC membership.


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