The basic testing for brain tumors involves examination of tumor tissue obtained from surgery after processing.

Pathologists At Work
Our pathologists at work

Examination Under the Microscope

The basic testing for brain tumors involves fixation of the tissue, sectioning in thin sections, and application of special stains that allow the observation of fine detail of the tumor cells under the microscope.

Special techniques that refine routine evaluation include immunohistochemistry, which are special stains that target specific proteins that are increased or decreased in different tumor types. For example, GFAP is a marker of glial/astrocytic differentiation and increased staining is encountered in gliomas.

Genetic Testing Techniques

Molecular genetic testing is increasingly applied to brain tumor diagnosis and includes a variety of techniques such as:

These advanced techniques provide additional information used in diagnosis (tumor classification), prognosis (information about outcome of the specific tumor type) and prediction of responses to specific therapies.

Genetic Alterations

Examples of molecular genetic alterations routinely used in brain tumor diagnosis include: