Current Pathobiology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 125–134 | Cite as

Molecular Pathology and Pre-Analytic Variables: Impact on Clinical Practice From a Breast Pathology Perspective

  • Bradley M. Turner
  • Ioana Moisini
  • David G. Hicks
Molecular Pathology of Tumor Pre-Analytics (D Hicks, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Molecular Pathology of Tumor Pre-Analytics


Purpose of Review

Cancer therapy is increasingly becoming dependent on the ability to target specific molecular pathways that drive disease progression. Consequently, the identification of specific molecular pathways requires the use of companion diagnostic assays that are accurate and reproducible. This review will discuss the data and concerns surrounding pre-analytic variables in the evaluation of breast cancer tissue.

Recent Findings

Although ASCO/CAP guidelines offer recommendations for the collection and preservation of diagnostic clinical tissues, standard clinical practice has paid little attention to the suitability of these tissues for further molecular analysis. Current research suggests that alterations in the molecular integrity of tissue during the pre-analytic stage may result in inaccurate results and potentially sub-standard patient care.


Threshold recommendations for optimal molecular analyses associated with pre-analytic variables are limited. Future recommendations regarding pre-analytic variables and molecular diagnostics of breast cancer tissue will require additional research on the effects of pre-fixation, fixation, processing, and storage on nucleic acid integrity, comparing fixed material with fresh and/or frozen controls.


Precision medicine Pre-analytic Molecular Formalin Pre-fixation Fixation Processing Storage Ischemic time Immunohistochemistry ER PR HER-2 Ki-67 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Hicks reports other from Genentech BioOncology, outside the submitted work.

Drs. Moisini and Turner have nothing to disclose.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradley M. Turner
    • 1
  • Ioana Moisini
    • 1
  • David G. Hicks
    • 1
  1. 1.Surgical Pathology Unit, Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA

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