Better retrieval of lymph nodes in colorectal resection specimens by pathologists' assistants

C. C H J Kuijpers, H. J. Van Slooten, W. H. Schreurs, G. R H M Moormann, M. A. Abtahi, A. Slappendel, V. Cliteur, P. J. Van Diest, N. M. Jiwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Errors in surgical pathology are partly due to the increasing workload of pathologists. To reduce this workload, 'pathologists' assistants' (PAs) have been trained to take over some of the pathologists' recurrent tasks. One of these tasks is the precise examination of ≥10 lymph nodes (LNs), which is of paramount importance to reduce the risk of understaging of colorectal cancer patients. Aims: To evaluate the role of PAs in harvesting LNs in colorectal resection specimens and, by doing so, in improving patient safety. Methods: LN harvest was retrospectively reviewed in 557 pathology reports on colorectal resection specimens collected in two Dutch hospitals from 2008 until 2011. Results: PAs sampled ≥10 LNs in significantly more cases than pathologists did (83.2% vs 60.9% in hospital A and 79.2% vs 67.6% in hospital B) and recovered on average significantly more LNs than pathologists did (18.5 vs 12.2 in hospital A and 16.6 vs 13.2 in hospital B). PAs harvested a significantly higher percentage of LNs

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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