Department of Pathology

Contact: Gregory A. Threatte, MD, Professor and Chair of Pathology
Phone: 315 464-????

The staff of the Pathology Department plays a crucial role in the care of cancer patients. Traditionally, this role has been one of consultant in establishing the diagnosis of cancer and in defining the type of cancer and its extent. However, with the advent of the fine needle aspiration (FNA) and stem cell collection for bone marrow transplant, pathologists interact directly with cancer patients. In the past year over 1,000 FNAs were received in the Cytology section of the department. One third of these FNAs were performed by our cytopathologists.

Specialized Procedures

The Department of Pathology continues to increase the number of specialized procedures it offers. These include assays in flow cytometry, molecular biology, cytogenetics and immunohistochemistry for the diagnosis and classification of benign and malignant neoplasms. In flow cytometry, evaluation of DNA content (ploidy) and S phase (dividing cells) are being applied to both breast and colon cancer. These markers reflect upon the rate of tumor growth and have independent prognostic significance.

Molecular biology diagnostic techniques are available for Human Papilloma virus and Epstein-Barr virus and DNA probes are used for T and B cell gene rearrangement to distinguish lymphomas and acute lymphocytic leukemia. The probe for the Philadelphia chromosome has been established. In addition to markers for myeloid, lymphoid and mononuclear cells, immunochemistry offers assays with monoclonal/cocktail antibodies including Estrogen and Progesterone Receptor now on formalin-fixed breast tissue. These procedures extend our other services of specialized cytochemical analysis, cytogenetics and electron microscopy. The list of molecular markers performed on cancer tissues using In-Situ Hybridization, Polymerase Chain Reactio, Array Genomic Hybridization and DNA Sequencing includes Her2/neu, N-myc, EGFR, and KRAS mutations and expands steadily as we try to keep up with most breakthroughs in Personalized Medicine.

Tumor board

The department is involved in the now well-established monthly Tumor Board. Also, for University Hospital and referred patients with solid tumors or lymphomas/leukemias, the diagnosis, staging and patient status are reviewed prior to chemotherapy at working conferences conducted by our surgical pathologists and hematopathologists, respectively.

Occupational Health & Safety

The Pathology Department continues its support for occupational safety and health including investigations of occupational exposure to some carcinogens, such as asbestos.