[Histonet] Prostate Needle Biopsies


Cindy DuBois, HT ASCP at Delta Pathology Associates in Stockton, California, 
asks about embedding of prostate needle biopsy specimens. A few words from the 
pathologist who has to read them:

I want to see the entire length of every specimen submitted, since prostate 
cancer is often focal and present in very small quantities. When you gross the 
specimen, you need to record the length of each specimen (the big prostate 
mills are very careful about this). I'll be measuring the length of specimens on 
the slide, and the length of the tumor present within them. 

Tamping the individual specimens flat in the embedding mold is essential. I'd 
prefer you use as few cassettes as possible, but it's more important that I 
see the entire length of each specimen than that you conserve cassettes and 
slides. Some labs specify no more than two cores per block.

I'm going to want a high molecular weight cytokeratin (34BE12) immunostain on 
about one case in ten. I need to see the section that's right next to the H & 
E section I'm looking at, so you need to cut extra unstained slides on every 

All prostate biopsy specimens look alike in the gross, and you need to take 
extraordinary care not to mix up patients, particularly if you're accessioning 
nothing else but prostate biopsy specimens. Cassettes of different colors, 
indexed to slides of the same colors, cost nothing extra and help prevent mixups. 
So does the use of colored marking inks.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Gastonia NC
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