Breast Pathology

The Breast Pathology Service is a key component to providing a comprehensive surgical pathology service. Secondary to our large surgical volume, Clin-Path Associates, PLC, performs diagnoses on over 1000 malignant breast cases per year. We provide this service to a variety of hospitals, surgicenters and free standing breast mammography centers in the valley that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of breast disease.


The Breast Pathology Service was established in 2005 to meet the needs of our many clients who require specialized diagnostic capabilities. We have extensive experience interpreting excisional, core biopsy and fine needle aspiration specimens of cases ranging from early borderline disease to the most advanced stage cancer. Her 2 testing by both FISH and image analysis assisted IHC, following ASCO/CAP guidelines, is performed at our local laboratory. Our diagnostic modalities for positive cases include image analysis for ER, PR, KI67 and Her2. We consult regularly with surgeons, radiologists and oncologists to provide the most appropriate care.

The current accepted protocol (ASCO/CAP) includes testing for estrogen and progesterone receptors by immunohistochemistry, and testing for Her2/neu by either immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) or silver in situ hybridization (SISH).  The in situ hybridization method is considered the “gold standard” test, but immunohistochemistry has been shown to be nearly as effective.

Because our goal is the best possible outcome for the patient, we offer all three methods of measuring the Her2/neu receptor status.  If the receptor is over expressed, the patient is a candidate for the drug Herceptin (an effective but cardiotoxic drug).  We let the oncologist (in consultation with the patient) decide the testing method (one or all) to determine eligibility for Herceptin treatment.

Timely Results

As accurate, rapid diagnoses are important to both our patients and their physicians, written reports are typically available within 24 hours of specimen receipt. In complex cases requiring additional diagnostic studies or intradepartmental consultation results are usually available within 48 hours.

Immunohistochemistry results are usually available 24 hours after the diagnosis of breast cancer is rendered.  In situ hybridization analysis takes 24-48 hours for a result.

  • Anthony R. Burgan, M.D.
  • Suzanne M. Cook, M.D.
  • Stephen A. Ovanessoff, M.D.
  • Robert A. Stern, M.D.
  • Beatrice S. Strong, M.D.
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