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Articles tagged with: Cancer (see also Leukemia and Breast cancer/breast health) –

For certain thyroid lesions, the shift is on

July 2016—Time was running out for Yuri Nikiforov, MD, PhD, vice chair for molecular pathology and division director of molecular and genomic pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. For nearly a year he had been working to assemble an international group of experts—pathologists, endocrinologists, a surgeon, and, unusually, a psychiatrist and a patient advocate—to discuss that most vexing of thyroid tumors, encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma, or EFVPTC.

SS18-SSX2 fusion transcript in the diagnosis of a poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma

June 2016—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 Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. 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

Metastatic cancer of unknown primary: diagnostic challenges

May 2016—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. Case report No. 11, which begins here, comes from Cooper Medical School at Rowan University and Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ.

Prostate pointers—PIN, ASAP, mimics, and markers

April 2016—Presenting on prostate cancer diagnosis at CAP ’15 last fall, David G. Bostwick, MD, MBA, recalled how he and Kenneth A. Iczkowski, MD, came up with the term “atypical small acinar proliferation suspicious for but not diagnostic of malignancy,” or ASAP, when they were at Mayo Clinic in 1997. They had scoured the Mayo files trying to spot the right term because they didn’t know what to call it, said Dr. Bostwick, who is medical director of Granger Diagnostics in Richmond, Va. “Should we call it suspicious but not diagnostic? Should we call it worrisome? Problematic?” Dr. Bostwick joked that his favorite expression seen in the files as a prostate biopsy finding in the 1980s was “semi-malignant,” saying, “I still don’t know what that means.”

The challenge of intraductal carcinoma of prostate

April 2016—In his CAP ’15 presentation last fall, David Bostwick, MD, MBA, referred to intraductal carcinoma of the prostate as “sort of the rage right now in the urologic pathology field.” “The problem is that it has multiple different definitions, and interobserver agreement with it is moderate at best,” said Dr. Bostwick, medical director of Granger Diagnostics in Richmond, Va. Even when pathologists can agree on an IDC diagnosis, he said, they aren’t on the same page about treatment.

Immunotherapy steers focus to microenvironment

March 2016—It’s not every day that a monoclonal antibody leads the news. But when former president Jimmy Carter was successfully treated for metastasized melanoma last year with the new drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda), the story made headlines. Carter’s recovery—surprising to many when it was announced in December—may have been helped by traditional radiation and chemotherapy. However, the role played by pembrolizumab spotlighted immunotherapy as an exciting advance in the evolution of cancer treatment.

Bladder cancer preps for its star turn

February 2016—A streak of sibling rivalry emerges when experts ponder progress in the field of bladder cancer. Whether it’s new markers or therapies, funding or advocacy, advances have come slowly, and the disease has long labored in the shadow of others. “Urologic malignancies in general lag behind, compared to breast cancer and other tumor types, like colon and lung, where we’ve been envious for a while,” says George Netto, MD, professor of pathology, urology, and oncology and director of surgical pathology molecular diagnostics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Community hospitals keep time on tissue handling

February 2016—The great promise of genomics and actionable cancer biomarkers relies on cancer tissues being handled in the right way so they are suitable for study. Reducing cold ischemia time and the total time that biospecimens spend in formalin is key to the process, say guidelines from the CAP and the American Society of Clinical Oncology on HER2 and on estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor testing in breast cancer specimens.

Non-melanocytic lesions—preventing pitfalls in diagnosis

February 2016—Musician Lauryn Hill has been quoted as saying, “Reality is easy. It’s deception that’s the hard work.” That viewpoint just might resonate with pathologists who sometimes have to diagnose deceiving-looking skin lesions. In a talk at CAP ’15, Deborah L. Cook, MD, professor of pathology and director of dermatopathology at the University of Vermont, shared several case examples that illustrate that investigative effort. All of them involve non-melanocytic malignancies known to mimic benign entities and the converse—“the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “sheep in wolf’s clothing,” as she puts it.

Cases focus on ALK false-negs, post-transplant tumor

January 2016—A sophisticated understanding of the advantages and drawbacks of both familiar and advanced assays can provide great patient benefit, as two talks in a session on solid tumor case studies at the Nov. 5–7, 2015 meeting of the Association for Molecular Pathology showed.