College of American Pathologists
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  An urgent need for breast tissue samples


CAP Today



February 2008
Feature Story

The average size of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis has been decreasing over the past two decades, in part because of earlier detection by mammography. This has resulted in increased difficulties in obtaining excess tumor tissue for use in interlaboratory comparison surveys. The CAP must quickly expand its source for breast cancer tissue for use in the CAP HER2 Surveys program. Can you help your fellow members?

Here are the requirements for the needed materials:

  • Paraffin blocks from invasive breast carcinomas of any type.
  • Coexistent DCIS is acceptable if it is a relatively minor component.
  • Invasive carcinoma should be at least 1 cm ∞ 1 cm on the glass slide.
  • Tissue must be fixed in 10 percent neutral buffered formalin from six to 48 hours.
  • Block thickness of 2 mm minimum, 3–4 mm ideal.
  • Five paraffin blocks per case, free of all patient identifiers.
  • IHC and/or FISH test results included as available.

Also needed are blocks from cases of large cell lymphoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, synovial sarcoma, and mantle cell lymphoma for immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization Survey programs (same aforementioned processing).

If your institution can be a source, please immediately contact Patty Vasalos, senior technical specialist, at or 800-323-4040 ext. 7584. Your support of the proficiency testing needs of your fellow members is appreciated.