Jump To

    Pancreatic biopsy


    Pancreatic lesions seen on imaging do not always require biopsy prior to surgery.1

    However, if received, specimens should be handled in a similar manner to other small biopsies from the gastrointestinal tract.2

    Record the patient identifying information and any clinical information supplied together with the specimen description as designated on the container. See overview page for more detail on identification principles.

    • No
      • Non-routine fixation (not formalin), describe.
    • Yes
      • Special studies required, describe.
      • Ensure samples are taken prior to fixation.
    • Not performed
    • Performed, describe type and result
      • Frozen section
      • Imprints
      • Other, describe

    Biopsies of pancreas will frequently require special stains and immunohistochemistry. Ensure adequate fixation.

    See general information for more detail on specimen handling procedures.

    Inspect the specimen and dictate a macroscopic description.

    External Inspection

    Describe the following features of the specimen:


    Record as stated by the clinician.

    • Needle biopsy
    • Percutaneous
    • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
    • Other, describe

    Number of pieces received

    • Record

    Specimen size (mm)

    Measure the size of each core/fragment in two dimensions:
    • Length
    • Diameter


    Not required.

    Internal Inspection

    Not required.


    Submit all tissue directly transferred into cassettes for processing. Biopsy pads, lens paper or similar are required to prevent loss of tissue during processing.

    Record details of each cassette.

    An illustrated block key similar to the one below may be useful.

    Block allocation key

    Cassette id
    No. of pieces


    1. Campbell F, Foulis AK and Verbeke CS. Dataset for the histopathological reporting of carcinomas of the pancreas, ampulla of Vater and common bile duct, The Royal College of Pathologists, London, 2010.
    2. Feakins R, Campbell F, Mears L, Moffat C, Scott N and Allen D. Tissue pathways for gastrointestinal and pancreatobiliary pathology, The Royal College of Pathologists, London, 2009.

    Page last updated:

    Copyright © 2022 RCPA. All rights reserved.