Pathology turnaround time in pediatric oncology: A tool to prepare patients and families for the diagnostic waiting period

Christopher J. Forlenza, Adam S. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is little data on the amount of time patients and families typically wait for pathology results when pediatric malignancy is suspected. The purpose of this study was to determine the average waiting period after diagnostic intervention for pediatric cancer. Pathology reports were reviewed for pediatric patients who had their initial diagnosis and were followed in the Division of Hematology/Oncology from 2007 through 2010. The average turnaround time (TAT) for all pathology (n=266) was 6.9 days. The TAT for pathology results according to diagnosis was 10.1 days for CNS tumors (n=59), 9.7 days for sarcomas (n=40), 5.4 days for lymphomas (n=31), 5.4 days for neuroblastoma (n=13), 7.3 days for kidney tumors (n=11), 7.2 days for thyroid tumors (n=7), 9.4 days for ovarian tumors (n=7), 7.0 days for schwannomas/neurofibromas (n=5), 5.7 days for testicular tumors (n=3), 5.0 days for hepatoblastoma (n=3), and 7.0 days for nasopharyngeal carcinomas (n=2). Overall the TAT for leukemia was 3.1 days (n=76), with diagnosis by flow cytometry taking 1.2 days and results by bone marrow biopsy taking 4.0 days. The TAT for pediatric oncology pathology after diagnostic intervention varies according to diagnosis. The hope is that this information will better prepare patients and families for the agonizing waiting period associated with diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-536
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013



  • biopsy
  • pathology
  • pediatric oncology
  • turnaround time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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