Aim To determine the degree of variation in the handling of prostate needle biopsies (PBNx) in laboratories across Europe.
Methods A web based survey was emailed to members of the European Network of Uropathology and the British Association of Urological Pathologists.
Results Responses were received from 241 laboratories in 15 countries. PNBx were generally taken by urologists (93.8%) or radiologists (23.7%) but in 8.7% were also taken by non-medical personnel such as radiographers, nurses or biomedical assistants. Of the responding laboratories, 40.8% received cores in separate containers, 42.3% processed one core/block, 54.2% examined three levels/block, 49.4% examined one H&E section/level and 56.1% retained spare sections for potential immunohistochemistry. Of the laboratories, 40.9% retained unstained spares for over a year while 36.2% discarded spares within 1 month of reporting. Only two (0.8%) respondents routinely performed immunohistochemistry on all PNBx. There were differences in laboratory practice between the UK and the rest of Europe (RE). Procurement of PNBx by non-medical personnel was more common in the UK. RE laboratories more commonly received each core in a separate container, processed one core/block, examined fewer levels/block and examined more H&E sections/level. RE laboratories also retained spares for potential immunohistochemistry less often and for shorter periods. Use of p63 as the sole basal cell marker was more common in RE.
Conclusions There are marked differences in procurement, handling and processing of PNBx in laboratories across Europe. This data can help the development of best practice guidelines.
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