Strand Diagnostics, an identity confirmation testing services provider, has introduced a new system to detect misidentification of breast biopsy samples.

By using patient-specific bar coding, forensic chain of custody principles and DNA testing, the know error system compares the molecular genetic profile of the breast biopsy specimen to a reference sample taken via cheek swab.

Strand Diagnostics president Ken Cerney said the company has found that approximately one in every one hundred surgical biopsies are subject to patient misidentification, mislabeling or specimen contamination.

"The consequences of these mistakes are life-changing and avoidable," Cerney said.

"Every breast surgeon, radiologist and pathologist should be providing their patients with the best care possible – that means eliminating this risk."

Norma F Pfriem Breast Care Centre breast surgeon Dr Andrew Kenler said the possibility of a misidentification of a patient’s biopsy results is nothing short of catastrophic, as it can lead to patients being treated for a cancer that does not exist.

"In addition, potentially life-saving treatment may be delayed for the complementary patient with the false negative diagnosis," Kenler said.

"Since implementing the know error system for breast biopsies, we can be certain that we are making treatment recommendations with the most accurate information possible for our patients.

"With widespread adoption of DSPA testing, physicians can mitigate the risk of providing a patient with an inaccurate diagnosis and unnecessary treatment."

Image: The know error system safeguards patients by detecting misidentification errors that occur during breastsurgical biopsies. Photo: Courtesy of Linda Bartlett.