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Seattle-based PhenoPath Laboratories Retests Nearly 3,000 Breast Cancer Specimens from Quebec Breast Cancer Inquiry
Date:12/20/2009

Seattle-based PhenoPath Laboratories retested nearly 3,000 breast cancer specimens from the Province of Quebec following an inquiry that suggested that there might have been testing errors resulting in incorrect treatment of some patients.

(PRWEB) December 20, 2009 -- Seattle-based PhenoPath Laboratories served as the reference laboratory for a highly anticipated retesting of nearly 3,000 breast cancer specimens from the Province of Quebec, results of which were announced by Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc this week.

The review had been requested after Quebec's Association of Pathologists released a startling report in April 2009 of a limited study that had suggested a high error rate, of between 15% and 20%, in the determination of the estrogen receptor (ER) status, an important test for the determination of appropriate treatment of breast cancer patients. In recent years, there have been other disclosures of high error rates in breast cancer testing in other provinces of Canada, including Newfoundland/Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Ontario. Quebec is the fifth province in Canada to uncover inaccuracies in breast cancer testing.

All breast cancers from patients in North America are tested for the presence of ER, as patients with breast cancers that are ER positive generally have a more favorable outcome than those that are ER negative, and such patients can also be successfully treated with drugs such as tamoxifen.

PhenoPath Laboratories was selected to retest a total of 2,856 cases that had been originally analyzed at many laboratories in Quebec between April 1, 2008 and June 1, 2009. The retesting involved a technique called immunohistochemistry (IHC), a special technique in which tumor tissue prepared from the original biopsies can be viewed under the microscope and evaluated for the presence of ER. PhenoPath Laboratories was founded in 1998 by Dr
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