Utility of large sections (macrosections) in breast cancer pathology

Melissa A. T. Monica, Luca Morandi, Maria P. Foschini


Large sections (LSs), (synomim: macrosections), are used in daily routine practice of breast pathology to better investigate the disease and to allow a thorough diagnosis. It has been demonstrated that costs do not differ from conventional blocking and the turn-around-time could be no longer than 24 hours. Immunohistochemistry or molecular studies are feasible by selecting areas of interest from LS and cutting them to obtain small conventional blocks. LSs are also employed in surgical pathology of various organs, among which breast is comprised. LS in breast pathology is useful to a proper definition of stage disease, tumor size (TS), tumor extent (TE), tumor multifocality (TM) and resection margins. The presence and extension of in situ carcinoma is more completely observed, overcoming the difficulties of gross inspection at naked eye. In the multidisciplinary era, LSs allow the correlations between radiological and pathological data. In addition, LSs play an important role in cases treated with neo-adjuvant (NAD) chemotherapy, as they are useful to better evaluate the residual cancer burden and the degree of tumour regression. The aim of the present paper is to review the value of LS in breast pathology.