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LIS niche modules flourish amid IT consolidation

November 2017—“There’s an app for that” was a common, if flippant, catch phrase to suggest that a software solution had already been devised for just about every need (at least until 2010, when Apple trademarked the catch phrase). In the laboratory industry today, you are likely to hear more references to software’s “functionality,” but the concept is the same. While debate continues over whether best-of-breed products or comprehensive information technology systems should rule the laboratory, health care IT companies have developed a profusion of modules or ancillary applications—sometimes packaged with an LIS, sometimes sold separately—to fill software gaps.

With syphilis rates rising sharply, syphilis tests a focus

November 2017—Syphilis is making a comeback. Nearly 28,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis, the most infectious stages of the disease, were reported in the U.S. in 2016—a 17.6 percent jump over 2015 and the highest reported rate since 1993. Cumbersome, subjective nontreponemal assays and the lack of a gold standard screening method lend complexity to the diagnostic process. But new nontreponemal assay options, including the first FDA-cleared fully automated treponemal/nontreponemal dual assay, may help stem the rising tide.

New sections added to AP, cytopathology checklists

November 2017—A new flow cytometry section in the anatomic pathology checklist and a section on immunochemistry in the cytopathology checklist are among the many changes found in the latest edition of the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program checklists, released in August.

Diagnostic teams: five barriers but the time is now

November 2017—Many people have case conferences, but a true diagnostic management team is one in which four things happen. First, you have to meet frequently and regularly, and you have to provide a patient-specific report. Second, the report must be delivered before or during the time when treatment decisions are made. This is why a once-a-month meeting doesn’t work.

AMP case report: Follicular lymphoma of gallbladder, November 2017

November 2017—CAP TODAY and the Association for Molecular Pathology have teamed up to bring molecular case reports to CAP TODAY readers. AMP members write the reports using clinical cases from their own practices that show molecular testing’s important role in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. The following report comes from Western University and London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada. If you would like to submit a case report, please send an email to the AMP at For more information about the AMP and all previously published case reports, visit

AMP case report: October 2017 test yourself answers

November 2017—In the October 2017 issue was a report, “Primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma with an unusual molecular profile of the EGFR gene at initial presentation,” written by members of the Association for Molecular Pathology. Here are answers (in bold) to the three “test yourself ” questions that followed that case report.

‘Split’ decisions in CNS tumor update

October 2017—Classifying central nervous system tumors has recently become both more complex and easier. Surgical pathologists now have guidance that helps them work through the whys, hows, and what-ifs of using molecular studies when making diagnoses. The 2016 WHO classification for CNS tumors, which has been described as a conceptual and practical advance over the previous incarnation, from 2007, should also help them move closer to precision medicine.

Revived hopes, fresh challenges with liquid biopsy

October 2017—Until recently, new treatments for stage 4 lung cancer have generally required weighing toxicity against hopes that patients’ average length of survival might be extended by a month or two. But “our expectations are increasing as therapies have improved,” says Geoff Oxnard, MD, thoracic oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Patients and doctors are increasingly expecting targeted therapies with dramatic effect and few side effects.”

PD-L1 guideline panels hustle to keep pace with drug advances

October 2017—The expert and advisory panels for the CAP/IASLC/AMP guideline on molecular testing for lung cancer biomarkers started updating the guideline in 2014, and an important but fairly routine revision process may have seemed to lie ahead. Something like sedately stepping onto a moving sidewalk. The key question at that point was quotidian: Have new data emerged to warrant changing the original recommendations?

How to spot the savings from a diagnostic team

October 2017—Few pathologists and laboratory professionals would argue with the potential clinical benefit of a diagnostic management team, a group that meets often and provides timely patient-specific reports that synthesize all test results. But getting C-suite executives on board may mean uncovering whether such a team can save the hospital money.