The benefits of molecular pathology in the diagnosis of musculoskeletal disease
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Bone and soft tissue metabolic and neoplastic diseases are increasingly characterized by their molecular signatures. This has resulted from increased knowledge of the human genome, which has contributed to the unraveling of molecular pathways in health and disease. Exploitation of this information has allowed it to be used for practical diagnostic purposes. The aim of the first part of this two-part review is to provide an up-to-date review of molecular genetic investigations that are available and routinely used by specialist musculoskeletal histopathologists in the diagnosis of neoplastic disease. Herein we focus on the benefits of employing well characterized somatic mutations in soft tissue lesions that are commonly employed in diagnostic pathology today. The second part highlights the known somatic and germline mutations implicated in osteoclast-rich lesions of bone, and the genetic changes that disturb phosphate metabolism and result in a variety of musculoskeletal phenotypes. Finally, a brief practical guide of how to use and provide a molecular pathology service is given.