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Next-gen sequencing finds further clinical utility in oncology

January 2018—One of the plenary sessions at the 2017 meeting of the Association for Molecular Pathology—“High Impact Molecular Diagnostics for Cancer and Inherited Diseases”—was a virtual mini-course in the latest and most useful applications of next-generation sequencing to detect germline and somatic mutations in cancer. Both speakers zeroed in on the clinical utility of their innovative diagnostic techniques.

New Color Atlas of Hematology to be used ‘in the wild’

January 2018—New this month from CAP Press is the second edition of the Color Atlas of Hematology: An Illustrated Field Guide Based on Proficiency Testing. “More and better are the watchwords,” senior editor Eric F. Glassy, MD, told CAP TODAY when we asked what the reader can expect. The second edition (the first was published in 1998) is the fourth CAP Color Atlas Dr. Glassy has worked on in the past 20 years, and it is the “most ambitious yet,” he says, “and the next logical progression in the continuous effort to provide access to the remarkably rich data in the CAP’s proficiency testing archive.” David Blomberg, MD, and Katherine Galagan, MD, are associate editors.

Devices, decisions: POC glucose in the critically ill

January 2018—Using point-of-care glucose meters in critically ill patients can feel like tiptoeing through a regulatory minefield. Perhaps your preferred meter hasn’t been cleared by the FDA for use in this population. Or maybe you’re not sure which assay performance requirements should be regulating the performance of your meters. Or perhaps you’re still trying to define “critically ill.”

Lab needs driving coagulation analyzer market

January 2018—Customer wish lists help to define every generation of coagulation analyzers, test menus, and related technologies. That’s evident in the recent and upcoming launches and the ongoing work of the companies whose analyzers are profiled in this issue in the 2018 coagulation analyzer product guide.

AABB seeks comments on form to streamline transfusion adverse reaction reporting

January 2018—The AABB is seeking comments by March 30 on its common transfusion reaction reporting form, the seven pages of which are presented online at The fillable PDF form is intended to be used by hospitals and blood centers to communicate information about transfusion reactions to the blood supplier, particularly when there are multiple suppliers to the hospital transfusion service.

Cytopathology in focus: A right and a wrong way to use CAP educational kits

January 2018—The CAP Cytopathology Committee constructs educational and interlaboratory comparison kits that are distributed regularly to cytotechnologists, cytopathologists, and pathologists who want continuing education in cytopathology. The purpose of the kits is to make it possible for those who screen and diagnose cytology slides to maintain and update their skills. However, the Cytopathology Committee has been made aware that the kits have been employed for purposes other than education. We address here the potentially detrimental uses to which some laboratories are putting these educational kits and advise laboratories to use them only as they were intended.

Cytopathology in focus: Pap proficiency testing: what’s permitted, what’s not

January 2018—Annual proficiency testing is mandated for all cytotechnologists and pathologists who sign out Pap tests. CAP staff frequently receive questions about the PT rules or hear of situations in which there was confusion about the rules, a few of which we will highlight here.

Cytopathology in focus: HPV vaccines: the decade in review

January 2018—Diane Harper, MD, MPH, and Leslie DeMars, MD, provide an extensive review of the efficacy of available FDA-approved HPV vaccines in different age groups and describe immunogenicity findings in particular (Gynecol Oncol. 2017;146:196–204). The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a two-dose vaccine for younger children due to high rates of seroconversion and antibody titers in this age group. Girls age 15 and older should continue to get three doses.

Hopes, fears as users switch to new troponin

December 2017—The questions that arise over the use of highly sensitive cardiac troponin are as riveting as, if less historically fraught than, the Jefferson-Hamilton debates over the shape of their newborn country. Who should lead—the states or a strong central government? Cardiologists or the emergency department? What cutoffs represent the right balance between admissions, referrals, and sending patients home? And will Lin-Manuel Miranda ever write a smash musical about this cardiac assay?

In hemostasis, two hot-button testing issues

December 2017—Having validation data to support the use of age-adjusted D-dimer cutoffs with the D-dimer assay your laboratory uses is a must, and know well the limitations of point-of-care prothrombin time/INR testing. That advice and more was shared in a “Hot Topics in Hemostasis” session at CAP17, presented by Russell Higgins, MD, and Karen Moser, MD.