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Emerging role of clinical mass spectrometry in pathology
  1. Angela W.S. Fung1,2,
  2. Vijithan Sugumar3,
  3. Annie He Ren3,
  4. Vathany Kulasingam3,4
  1. 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Clinical Biochemistry, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vathany Kulasingam, Clinical Biochemistry, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4, Canada; Vathany.kulasingam{at}


Mass spectrometry-based assays have been increasingly implemented in various disciplines in clinical diagnostic laboratories for their combined advantages in multiplexing capacity and high analytical specificity and sensitivity. It is now routinely used in areas including reference methods development, therapeutic drug monitoring, toxicology, endocrinology, paediatrics, immunology and microbiology to identify and quantify biomolecules in a variety of biological specimens. As new ionisation methods, instrumentation and techniques are continuously being improved and developed, novel mass spectrometry-based clinical applications will emerge for areas such as proteomics, metabolomics, haematology and anatomical pathology. This review will summarise the general principles of mass spectrometry and specifically highlight current and future clinical applications in anatomical pathology.

  • clinical mass spectrometry
  • mass spectrometry imaging
  • clinical pathology
  • laser microdissection mass spectrometry
  • tissue proteomics

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Contributors AWSF, VS, AHR and VK contributed to review outline, writing and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.