News
FOR RELEASE: 10/25/2011Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637
kjcapp@bpthosp.org

Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute at Bridgeport Hospital first in area to use DNA test to ensure accuracy of breast biopsies


Breast surgeons at Bridgeport Hospital’s Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute are the first in the area to use the know error® system, a state-of-the-art DNA testing process, to ensure the accurate diagnosis of breast cancer biopsies. The same process has been used by Bridgeport Hospital urologists to verify the results of prostate cancer biopsies for as long as five years.

The know error® system helps ensure that a biopsied tissue sample belongs to the intended patient. In as many as one in 100 patients nationally, breast and prostate biopsies are misidentified or contaminated. For example, a patient’s biopsy could come back from the laboratory positive for cancer but the biopsied tissue actually belongs to another patient.

Thanks to the new test, patients are spared the distress of being incorrectly notified of a positive result.

“Accurate handling of specimens and patient identification is paramount to prevent the rare false positive biopsy results that would lead to unnecessary surgery,” says Andrew Kenler, MD, one of the Bridgeport Hospital breast surgeons who now uses the know error® system. “Now that I’m using this system, it’s difficult to imagine initiating surgery, including mastectomy, without the added security of the DNA match.”

Urologist Jeffrey Small, MD, has been using the know error® system for prostate biopsies for five years and says his patients have accepted it enthusiastically.

“The ability to alleviate any doubts about an accurate biopsy result allows physicians to focus on determining the best treatment plan for their patients, says Dr. Small. “As an early adopter of the know error® system for prostate biopsies, I am confident we are offering our patients the state-of-the-art in ensuring the accuracy of their diagnosis.”

Another user of the new system is surgeon Mary Pronovost, MD, Medical Director of Bridgeport Hospital’s Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, the first breast care center in Connecticut to integrate Know Error into its services.

“The know error® system provides assurance to our patients that their specimens are being carefully tracked as they move from the doctor’s office to the pathologist,” Dr. Pronovost says. “Our use of this service means patients can avoid the angst, anxiety, and inappropriate surgical interventions and treatments associated with mislabeled samples.”

The Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute at Bridgeport Hospital provides care to more than 1,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year, a greater number than any other hospital in Fairfield County. The hospital is a member of the Yale-New Haven Cancer Network, an alliance of hospitals across Connecticut that provides access to the latest breakthroughs and delivers an unparalleled level of expertise in cancer, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Cancer Institute continues to expand its services for patients at Bridgeport Hospital and in the community. During the past year, construction began on a new Radiation Oncology Center in Trumbull. When completed in early 2012, the new facility will combine with existing services at the same site to form a comprehensive outpatient satellite cancer center.


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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.