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Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 Dec;138(6):770-80. doi: 10.1309/AJCPIV9IQ1MRQMOO.

Molecular pathology of breast cancer: what a pathologist needs to know.

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Dept of Pathology, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Pathologists are now more than ever "diagnostic oncologists" and serve a critical role as clinical consultants on the biology of disease. In the last decade and a half, molecular information has transformed our thinking about the biologic diversity of breast cancers and redirected the way clinical treatment decisions are made. A basic understanding of the current molecular classification of breast cancers and the biologic pathways from precursors to invasive disease is key to both informing diagnostic practice and serving as clinical consultants. In addition, both single-marker and panel-based molecular tests are currently being utilized in breast cancer tissue to predict the benefit of specific therapies such as HER2-targeted biologic therapy and chemotherapy. Familiarity with the current issues involving these molecular tests as well as the pathologist's role in ensuring appropriate tissue handling, tissue selection, and results interpretation and correlation are paramount to providing optimal patient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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