Insights into selected genetic diseases affecting the female reproductive tract and their implication for pathologic evaluation of gynecologic specimens

Katja Gwin, Rebecca Wilcox, Anthony Montag

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context.-Recent advances in the understanding of genetic conditions involving the female genital tract and mechanisms of carcinogenesis in this setting affect patient management and thus necessitate appropriate pathologic evaluation of specimens. In the past, specimens from prophylactic surgery were a rarity; however, they are now more frequently encountered and often require a signifi-cant variation from routine processing methods. Pathologists also receive more specimens requiring prospective workup for possible underlying genetic conditions such as microsatellite instability. Objective.-To summarize the current knowledge of important genetic and hereditary conditions affecting the female reproductive organs while highlighting the resulting practical significance for specimen handling, "grossing," and microscopic evaluation in gynecologic pathology. Data Sources.-This update is based on a review of recent peer-reviewed literature and the experience with cases at the parent institutions. Conclusions.-Gynecologic specimens received from patients with certain genetic conditions require specific clinicopathologic knowledge for appropriate pathologic examination. The evaluation of prophylactic resection specimens focuses on the detection of cancer precursors and possible occult disease, which may require a more thorough and detailed examination than an obvious carcinoma. Standardized protocols for handling prophylactic gynecologic resection specimens are available for some, but not all, types of specimens. The prospective evaluation of a gynecologic pathology specimen for potential genetic conditions such as microsatellite instability is a very recent subject. Currently, well-established protocols are not available; however, as clinical and prognostic significance has become more clearly elucidated, familiarity with this evolving field is increasingly important to properly assess these pathologic specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1052
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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