[Histonet] breast fixation times

Tench, Bill Bill.Tench <@t> pph.org
Wed Oct 27 10:50:11 CDT 2010

There is no exception for core biopsies, as reasonable as that may seem.
I have had that discussion with the purveyors of the guidelines.  6-48
is the current standard.  there was a lot of discussion about exceeding
48 and using the FISH option.  My colleague responsible for this wrote:
It is in the CAP checklist, ANP 22998:

If the laboratory assesses Her2 by IHC or Her2 gene amplification by
in-situ hybridization (FISH, CISH, SISH), does the lab have a documented
procedure for ensuring appropriate length of fixation of specimens

Specimens subject to Her2 testing should be fixed in 10% neutral
buffered formalin for at least 6 hours and no longer than 48 hours.
While fixation outside of these time limits is not an absolute exclusion
criterion for Her2 testing, labs should qualify any negative results for
specimens fixed less than 6 hours or longer than 48 hours. For cases
with negative results by IHC, consideration should be given to
performing confirmatory analysis by in-situ hybridization. 

 There is also a table in the original ASCO/CAP Guideline
Recommendations for Her2 in Breast Cancer (Arch Pathol Lab Med, Vol 131,
Jan 2007) that states that tissue fixed in formalin for greater than 48
hours is not an absolute exclusion criterion, but if known to be fixed
longer than 48 hours or unknown, the report should qualify any negative
result with this information (table 6). 

As for upcoming changes, i don't know other than these time limitations
are suppose to be more rigorously applied to ER and PR, along with the
newly instituted documentation of time between excision and time placed
in fixative.
Bill Tench
Associate Dir. Laboratory Services
Chief, Cytology Services
Palomar Medical Center
555 E. Valley Parkway
Escondido, California  92025
Bill.Tench <@t> pph.org
Voice: 760- 739-3037
Fax: 760-739-2604

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