The Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog

Can DNA Testing Reduce Errors In Biopsy Sample Misdiagnoses?

Posted by Eva Bleich on January 09, 2013

Biopsy sample errors in cancer patients can be serious, life threatening errors which may be prevented through DNA testing of the biopsy sample, according to two recent peer-reviewed studies. 

The first study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, found that up to 3.5 percent of patients initially diagnosed with cancer were subject to undetected specimen switches or contaminations which may have compromised the accuracy of their diagnosis. The second, published recently in Value in Health concluded that performing a simple DNA test to confirm the provenance of malignant tissue samples is a cost-effective way to improve patient safety and diagnostic accuracy.

According to Dr. John Pfeifer , vice chairman for Clinical Affairs, Pathology and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and co-author on both studies, “The potential for misidentification of a patient’s biopsy results is a real concern in anatomic and clinical pathology with potentially devastating consequences. While many physicians have long suspected that Specimen Provenance Complications occur, these results provide the first estimate of their frequency.”


Eva Bleich

Contact Eva Bleich:
1-800-662-6230 or evableich@aol.com

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