Is the grading of breast carcinomas affected by a delay in fixation?

Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol. 1991;419(6):475-7. doi: 10.1007/BF01650675.


The effect of delay in fixation on the modified Bloom and Richardson grade of eight breast carcinomas was investigated. Topologically shuffled samples of each tumour were immersed in fixative at times of 0.5, 2, 4, 6, 18 and 24 h after surgical removal. The grade of each tumour was assessed at delays of 0.5 and 6 h. The tubule formation and nuclear pleomorphism components of the grade showed no change with a delay in fixation of 6 h. The number of mitotic figures declined by a mean of 53% over the same period and this resulted in a decrease in the histological grade of one of the tumours. The implications of these findings for the handling of breast specimens in a diagnostic histopathological laboratory are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Fixatives
  • Histocytological Preparation Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Mitosis
  • Time Factors


  • Fixatives