Research Article| Volume 148, ISSUE 3, P515-520, March 2018

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Processing of fallopian tube, ovary, and endometrial surgical pathology specimens: A survey of U.S. laboratory practices

Published:February 03, 2018DOI:


      • Survey to assess processing protocols of gynecologic surgical pathology specimens
      • Majority of pathology labs perform SEE-Fim on risk-reducing specimens.
      • Most labs perform SEE-Fim on benign specimens if first sections are suspicious.
      • Results suggest detailed processing of fallopian tubes pathology specimens.



      Many high-grade serous carcinomas initiate in fallopian tubes as serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC), a microscopic lesion identified with specimen processing according to the Sectioning and Extensive Examination of the Fimbria protocol (SEE-Fim). Given that the tubal origin of these cancers was recently recognized, we conducted a survey of pathology practices to assess processing protocols that are applied to gynecologic surgical pathology specimens in clinical contexts in which finding STIC might have different implications.


      We distributed a survey electronically to the American Society for Clinical Pathology list-serve to determine practice patterns and compared results between practice types by chi-square (χ2) tests for categorical variables. Free text comments were qualitatively reviewed.


      Survey responses were received from 159 laboratories (72 academic, 87 non-academic), which reported diverse specimen volumes and percentage of gynecologic samples. Overall, 74.1% of laboratories reported performing SEE-Fim for risk-reducing surgical specimens (82.5% academic versus 65.7% non-academic, p < 0.05). In specimens from surgery for benign indications in which initial microscopic sections showed an unanticipated suspicious finding, 75.9% of laboratories reported using SEE-Fim to process the remainder of the specimen (94.8% academic versus 76.4% non-academic, p < 0.01), and 84.6% submitted the entire fimbriae.


      Changes in the theories of pathogenesis of high-grade serous carcinoma have led to implementation of pathology specimen processing protocols that include detailed analysis of the fallopian tubes. These results have implications for interpreting trends in cancer incidence data and considering the feasibility of developing a bank of gynecologic tissues containing STIC or early cancer precursors.


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