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ARTICLES

Chronological index
2013–2018

Clearing the air for electronic cancer checklists

May 2018—Length, cost, variability in vendor support, and lack of consistency have cast a cloud for pathologist users over the CAP’s cancer protocols and the electronic version of those protocols, the electronic cancer checklists. Work is underway to improve the user experience (Nakhleh RE, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2017;141[9]:1153–1154). Behind that effort is the undeniable: “Structured discrete data, using a controlled vocabulary, can be captured, stored, and reviewed much more readily than data in other formats,” says Mary Edgerton, MD, PhD, vice chair of the CAP’s Pathology Electronic Reporting (PERT) Committee and associate professor of pathology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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With hemolysis, tackling the rush with the reasoning

May 2018—First a journey. Then sometimes a vigorous shake. Little wonder that red blood cells hemolyze. “Red blood cells don’t like to be stressed,” says Kathleen Finnegan, MT(ASCP)SH, phlebotomy training program director at Stony Brook University School of Technology and Management, New York. She instructs her students to avoid stressing the RBCs by skipping what she calls the “martini shake” (CLSI recommends five to 10 tube inversions), using a needle that is the right size, and not using a syringe for transfer but instead a transfer device. “So it’s gentle,” she says.

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Cytopathology in Focus: Reporting salivary gland cytopathology—new user-friendly Milan system consists of six diagnostic categories

May 2018—The Milan System for Reporting Salivary Gland Cytopathology was published Jan. 31 and is an important step toward standardizing the reporting of salivary gland fine needle aspiration. A large body of literature has demonstrated that FNA is an effective method for the initial evaluation of salivary gland masses, but until this year there was no uniform, widely accepted reporting system. The complexity of salivary gland cytology poses unique challenges that demand a standardized approach to communication of diagnostic information between pathologists and treating clinicians.

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Cytopathology in Focus: For thyroid cytopathology, the 2017 Bethesda System

May 2018—Surgical pathologists take their tumor nomenclature from the WHO Classification of Tumours, but cytopathologists take their terminology from where the consensus groups convened—Bethesda, Paris, Milan, and Yokohama—to formulate terminology recommendations. The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (TBSRTC)1 is now in its second edition.

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TB testing: new approaches to old scourge

April 2018—Scratch the surface of TB testing, and things quickly get interesting. The standard skin reaction test, widely adopted by the early 1940s, is still in use today. The goal has remained steady as well: break the transmission cycle. “From the clinician perspective and the laboratory perspective, because of its infectious nature, we want to identify people with latent tuberculosis,” says Elitza Theel, PhD, lab director for the infectious disease serology laboratory, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories.

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LCIS variants and DCIS: tips on telling them apart

April 2018—DCIS or LCIS? Making the distinction can be difficult in some cases. Stuart J. Schnitt, MD, in a session at CAP17 on ancillary testing in breast pathology, delineated the reasons and provided tips, including the role of E-cadherin immunostains to help in this distinction. The cells of DCIS typically show strong membrane staining for E-cadherin while the cells of LCIS are typically E-cadherin negative. But among the tips: If an in situ lesion is E-cadherin positive, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s ductal carcinoma in situ. As he demonstrated in several cases, the lesion could be lobular carcinoma in situ with aberrant E-cadherin immunostaining.

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Turnover in phlebotomy: looking deeper than pay

April 2018—Laboratory managers struggling to reduce turnover among phlebotomists should look beyond the pay and examine their hiring and management practices and the dysfunction that could be creating walls between analytical and preanalytical staff. “It’s an enormous problem,” Dennis J. Ernst, MT(ASCP), NCPT(NCCT), director of the Center for Phlebotomy Education, says of phlebotomist turnover. “There’s no silver bullet because there are so many things that lead phlebotomists to give up hope where they work and in the profession. It’s critical that managers are tuned in to the needs of this specialized workforce because they’re varied and many.”

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