A Healthier Wisconsin

Study of Pre-Analytical Effects on Breast Cancer Biomarkers

Achieving equitable care for breast cancer patients undergoing surgical excision at ambulatory, community, and rural sites

Full Project Name:Study of Pre-Analytical Effects on Breast Cancer BiomarkersPrincipal Investigator:Julie Jorns, MD, PathologyCo-Investigator:Chandler Cortina, MD, Surgery; Adrienne Cobb, MD, SurgeryAward Amount:$50,000
Award Date
Project Duration:12 months

Project Description Narrative:

Breast cancer affects approximately 13% of women in the U.S., with an incidence rate in Wisconsin of 132.9 cases per 100,000 women. With advancements in surgical and anesthetic techniques, breast cancer operations have largely become outpatient procedures. Thus, many of these operations are now being performed outside the primary hospital at ambulatory surgery centers or community hospital locations.

While moving most breast cancer operations out of the primary hospital operating room optimizes surgical resource utilization, there is frequently no physical on-site pathology presence for punctual surgical specimen processing. In this model, delays due to specimen transport and processing can have significant negative impacts on breast cancer biomarker expression, which provides critical prognostic information and guides systemic therapy options.

This project will study practical alternatives to on-site breast cancer specimen processing, such as refrigeration and freezing. Findings from this much-needed investigation will provide critical evidence on the role of alternative cooling strategies for surgical breast cancer specimen biomarker expression preservation. The results from this investigation will 1) promote equitable care for breast cancer patients across Wisconsin, a largely rural state, by ensuring adequate pathological biomarker assessment regardless of surgical setting or geographic location; and 2) inform the expansion of national clinical guidelines in breast cancer surgical specimen processing.

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