Context.-The College of American Pathologists (CAP) developed protocols for reporting pathologic characteristics of breast cancer specimens, including margin status. The Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) published treatment guidelines regarding margins in patients with invasive cancer; and SSO, ASTRO, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently published guidelines for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ. Objective.-To assess current practices among pathologists with regard to the processing/reporting of breast specimens, assess compliance with CAP cancer protocols, and assess alignment with SSO/ASTRO and SSO/ASTRO/ASCO guidelines. Design.-A survey concerning breast specimen processing/reporting was distributed to pathologists enrolled in the CAP Performance Improvement Program in Surgical Pathology. Results.-Ninety-four percent (716 of 764 respondents) and 91% (699 of 769 respondents) define positive margins as "tumor on ink" for invasive cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ, respectively, in compliance with CAP cancer protocols and with SSO/ASTRO and SSO/ASTRO/ASCO guidelines. Of 791 respondents who provided details regarding methods for margin evaluation, 608 (77%) exclusively examine perpendicular margins, facilitating guideline compliance. However, 183 of 791 respondents (23%) examine en face margins in at least a subset of specimens, which may preclude guideline compliance in some cases. When separate cavity (shave) margins are examined, while 517 of 586 respondents (88%) ink these specimens, 69 of 586 (12%) do not, and this may also preclude guideline compliance in some cases. Conclusions.-A substantial proportion of survey participants report margin status for breast cancer specimens in a manner consistent with CAP cancer protocols, and in alignment with SSO/ASTRO and SSO/ASTRO/ASCO guidelines. However, there are opportunities for some laboratories to modify procedures in order to facilitate more complete adherence to guidelines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology