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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2012, Article ID 785947, 7 pages
Review Article

The Value of Large Sections in Surgical Pathology

Department of Biomedical and Neuro Motor Sciences, Section of Anatomic Pathology, University of Bologna, “M. Malpighi”, at Bellaria Hospital, Via Altura 3, 40139 Bologna, Italy

Received 3 September 2012; Accepted 10 October 2012

Academic Editor: Tibor Tot

Copyright © 2012 Maria P. Foschini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Large format sections (LS) first have been introduced in breast pathology more than a century ago. Since then, they constituted for longtime a research tool to better understand breast microanatomy and the relationship between radiological images and pathological features. Similarly LS have been used to study neoplastic, inflammatory, and degenerative diseases affecting various organs, as brain, lung, gastrointentinal tract, bone, urinary tract, prostate, and placenta. Currently LS are mostly applied to diagnostic routine to better stage tumours such as prostate and breast carcinomas or to correlate radiologic imaging to gross specimens. The purpose of the present paper is to review the historical background and the basis of the applications of LS in surgical pathology, with special emphasis on breast tumours.