R A Walker

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (8)19.74 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: These guidelines supplement existing guidelines on HER2 testing by immunohistochemistry and in-situ hybridisation(ISH) methods in the UK. They provide a specific focus on aspects of guidance relevant to HER2 ISH testing methods, both fluorescent and chromogenic. They are formulated to give advice on methodology, interpretation and quality control for ISH-based testing of HER2 status in common tumour types, including both breast and gastric tumours. The aim is to ensure that all ISH-based testing is accurate, reliable and timely.
    Journal of clinical pathology 06/2011; 64(8):649-53. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: These guidelines update the previous UK HER2 testing guidelines and have been formulated to give advice on methodology, interpretation and quality assurance to ensure that HER2 testing results are accurate, reliable and timely with the expansion of testing to all patients with breast cancer at the time of primary diagnosis. The recommendations for testing are the use of immunohistochemistry but with analysis of equivocal cases by in situ hybridisation to clarify their HER2 status or the use of frontline fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) testing for those laboratories wishing to do so; the inclusion of a chromosome 17 probe is strongly recommended. Laboratories using chromogenic or silver in situ hybridisation should perform an initial validation against FISH. For immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation there must be participation in the appropriate National External Quality Assurance scheme.
    Journal of clinical pathology 08/2008; 61(7):818-24. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    R A Walker
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    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is the predominant malignancy where oncologists use predictive markers clinically to select treatment options, with steroid receptors having been used for many years. Immunohistochemistry has taken over as the major assay method used for assessing markers. Despite its extensive use there are still issues around tissue fixation, methodology, interpretation and quantification. Although many markers have been evaluated, the oestrogen receptor remains the most reliable and best example of a predictor of treatment response. It is of major importance clinically that those undertaking interpretation of predictive markers understand the technical pitfalls and are aware of how expression of a particular marker relates to breast cancer pathology. A false negative or a false positive result will impact on patient management.
    Journal of clinical pathology 07/2008; 61(6):689-96. · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • V Speirs, R A Walker
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    ABSTRACT: Oestrogen receptor (ER) is arguably the single most important biological predictive factor that exists today. In the last 10 years or so, however, our understanding of ER biology has undergone a paradigm shift following the identification of a second ER, ERbeta, with the original ER being renamed ERalpha. A number of isoforms have additionally been described, especially for ERbeta. Our knowledge of ER signalling has also increased with the recognition of accessory co-regulatory proteins, which help direct the transcriptional cascade. Here we outline these changes and discuss what biological and clinical implications these could have in the mammary gland.
    The Journal of Pathology 05/2007; 211(5):499-506. · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The original role of the National Health Service breast screening programme (pathology) external quality assessment (EQA) scheme was educational; it aimed to raise standards, reinforce use of common terminology, and assess the consistency of pathology reporting of breast disease in the UK. To examine the performance (scores) of pathologists participating in the scheme in recent years. The scheme has evolved to help identify poor performers, reliant upon setting an acceptable cutpoint. Therefore, the effects of different cutpoint strategies were evaluated and implications discussed. Pathologists who joined the scheme improved over time, particularly those who did less well initially. There was no obvious association between performance and the number of breast cancer cases reported each year. This is not unexpected because the EQA does not measure expertise, but was established to demonstrate a common level of performance (conformity to consensus) for routine cases, rather than the ability to diagnose unusual/difficult cases. A new method of establishing cutpoints using interquartile ranges is proposed. The findings also suggest that EQA can alter a pathologist's practice: those who leave the scheme (for whatever reason) have, on average, marginally lower scores. Consequently, with the cutpoint methodology currently used (which is common to several EQA schemes) there is the potential for the cutpoint to drift upwards. In future, individuals previously deemed competent could subsequently be erroneously labelled as poor performers. Due consideration should be given to this issue with future development of schemes.
    Journal of Clinical Pathology 03/2006; 59(2):130-7. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article presents the results and observed effects of the UK National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) external quality assurance scheme in breast histopathology. The major objectives were to monitor and improve the consistency of diagnoses made by pathologists and the quality of prognostic information in pathology reports. The scheme is based on a twice yearly circulation of 12 cases to over 600 registered participants. The level of agreement was generally measured using kappa statistics. Four main situations were encountered with respect to diagnostic consistency, namely: (1) where consistency is naturally very high-this included diagnosing in situ and invasive carcinomas (and certain distinctive subtypes) and uncomplicated benign lesions; (2) where the level of consistency was low but could be improved by making guidelines more detailed and explicit-this included histological grading; (3) where consistency could be improved but only by changing the system of classification-this included classification of ductal carcinoma in situ; and (4) where no improvement in consistency could be achieved-this included diagnosing atypical hyperplasia and reporting vascular invasion. Size measurements were more consistent for invasive than in situ carcinomas. Even in cases where there is a high level of agreement on tumour size, a few widely outlying measurements were encountered, for which no explanation is readily forthcoming. These results broadly confirm the robustness of the systems of breast disease diagnosis and classification adopted by the NHSBSP, and also identify areas where improvement or new approaches are required.
    Journal of Clinical Pathology 03/2006; 59(2):138-45. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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