Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Chromosome Pathology Section

Dr. Svetlana D. Pack, Head, Chromosome Pathology Section
Office: building 10, room 2S235H
Lab: building 10, room 3S255
Phone (301) 480-4204
Fax (301) 480-9488
To learn more, visit  Dr. Pack's CCR Web site.

Zied Abdullaev, Ph.D, Molecular Biologist
Building 10, room 3S255
Phone (301) 480-7416

Shannon SkarshaugCytogenetic Technologist
Building 10, Room 3S255
Phone (301) 480-7298

Valerie ZgoncCytogenetic Technologist
Building 10, Room 3S255
Phone (301) 480-7298

What We Do:

The Chromosome Pathology Section (CPS) is a state-of-the-art clinical laboratory performing clinical testing by using Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) technique. FISH uses fluorescent DNA probes to target specific chromosomal locations within the nucleus, resulting in colored signals that can be detected using a fluorescent microscope. The assay can be directly used on fresh or paraffin-embedded interphase nuclei for a rapid evaluation. FISH testing plays an increasingly important role in detecting specific genomic aberrations in neoplasms and has therefore become an indispensable part of the rapidly developing field of personalized medicine. The technique can be applied both de novo discovery and routine detection of specific biomarkers that are associated with the pathogenesis of various hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic malignancies.

The active test menu includes FISH assays for clinically significant chromosomal translocations and amplification:
  - rearrangements in ALK, c-MYC, BCL-2, and BCL-6 genes,
  - deletion of 1p or 19q chromosomal arms,
  - amplification of HER2 (CERBB2) and MET genes.

In addition, the laboratory develops and validates new FISH tests for frequent chromosomal abnormalities in broad range of tumors that have been requested by NCI investigators not available and offered by the outside clinical laboratories.

Laboratory address:

Chromosome Pathology Section,
Laboratory of Pathology, CCR, NCI, NIH
10 Center Dr., Room 3S255
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone (301) 480-7298
Fax (301) 480-8045

Regular Working Hours:

Instructions for Specimen Submission

Download FFPE-FISH Downtime Request Form

1) In-house Cases
For specimens collected at the NIH Clinical Center, requesting physicians will enter the request for FFPE FISH in the Clinical Research Information System (CRIS) in the same order used for requesting Surgical Pathology services. The box labeled “Tissue FISH Requested” should be checked and the specific tests should be listed in the "Special Instructions" section at the bottom of the order.

2) Outside (Submitted) Cases
If FISH testing is needed on patient blocks or slides submitted from an outside facility for enrollment to a NIH protocol, a CRIS order for "Surgical Pathology – Outside Material", should be entered. The Tissue FISH Requested box should be checked and specific tests entered into the "Special Instructions" box as for specimens collected at NIH. If a CRIS order cannot be entered because the patient is in pre-admit statues, fill out an "Outside Tissue Examination Form" (available in the Surgical Pathology Office). This form must be filled out completely and the specific FISH tests listed. Submit the CRIS order or Outside Tissue Examination Form along with the slides/blocks and the outside laboratory’s pathology reports. Please include the Outside Case Number, Block ID, and Tissue Source on your request.

3) Information About Tissue Quality and Submission of Slides/Blocks From Other Hospitals
The amount of tissue required for molecular tests on solid tumors is variable and depends upon both specimen size and tumor content of the specimen. When you are requesting specimens from outside hospitals for evaluation at the NIH, a tissue block is preferred, for then we can control how the slides are prepared. However, many institutions will not release paraffin blocks and unstained slides must be requested instead. Please follow the guidelines below for specimen collection and handling:

  • Optimally, tissues should be fixed in formalin for 6-48 hours prior to processing and embedding. Tissue from B-5 or other mercuric fixatives generally does not hybridize well and will not be accepted.
  • Unstained sections should be cut at 5 micron thickness and mounted on TrueBond 380 (preferably) or positively charged slides.
  • For brain sections, two separate sections on a single slide are preferred.
  • Slide should be air (or oven) dried.
  • Slides must be clearly marked with the patient’s IDs.
  • Slides must be tested within 6 weeks of microtomy.
  • Store blocks and slides at room temperature (20-23.5°C) until submission.
  • Submit 4 unstained slides and 1 H&E slide (or 5 unstained slides) for each test.


Last updated by Abdullaev, Zied (NIH/NCI) [E] on Oct 12, 2018