The Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology


Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Our Staff
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Clinical and Consult Work
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Registrar Training
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The Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital is a part of the statewide NSW Health Pathology network. It is located at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) and is in close proximity to the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and the University of Sydney.

The diagnostic work of pathologists influences a vast majority of all medical and surgical decisions. Hence, at the Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology at RPA, we strive to:

  • provide the highest quality of patient care through our diagnostic work and participation in multidisciplinary clinical care teams,
  • train the pathologists of the future and
  • advance innovative clinical and translational research focused on improving the diagnoses, management and outcomes of most adult diseases.

Clinical and Consultation Work

The Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology provides diagnostic histology, cytology and intra-operative consultative services on approximately 50,000-55,000 specimens annually. These include:  

  • All adult oncology clinical streams across RPA and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
  • The Melanoma Institute of Australia and dermatology
  • The Australian National Liver Transplant Unit
  • The kidney transplant unit
  • The department receives a large number of clinician and pathologist initiated referrals of diagnostically challenging cases for second opinion.
  • The department incorporates fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) services into tissue pathology, thus marrying tissue sub-specialty and molecular pathology expertise. It has one of the largest portfolio of FISH antibodies for soft tissue, head and neck, breast, gastric and kidney tumours, as well as lymphomas and gynecologic lesions. We are a statewide service provider for solid tumour FISH testing in NSW Pathology.

Education and Research

The department leads and participates in several aspects of clinical and translational research in melanoma and non-melanocytic skin, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, head and neck, bone and soft tissue, pulmonary, haematolymphoid, gynaecological,  transplant and molecular pathology.  The departmental faculty has attracted significant research funding and has collaborative networks with premier research institutes in Australia as well as overseas. Several members of the faculty serve on a large number of international and national committees and bodies, such as:

  • the American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC)
  • the World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting (ICCR)
  • the RCPA Structured Reporting program
  • National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC), National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA)
  • CINSW Advisory Groups
  • NSW Health Pathology Clinical Streams and
  • editorial boards of high impact pathology and clinical journals.


The Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology at RPA is a rich training ground for pathology Fellows and registrars due to:

  • access to a large number and variety of complex cases, including all adult oncology and transplant pathology
  • among the largest portfolios of immunohistochemical and FISH probes in Australia
  • exposure to multidisciplinary team meetings
  • internationally recognized diagnostic expertise
  • a collegial environment
  • a thriving research culture that encourages national and international presentations
  • near 100% success rate at the RCPA Fellowship examinations since 2010  

Long History of Excellence

The Department of Pathology through its association with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney is steeped in history and tradition of innovation and education since 1883. Its past faculty includes internationally renowned pathologists such as Professor Vincent McGovern, Professor Stan McCarthy (AO) known for their excellence in melanoma diagnostics and Professor Susan Dorsch who was the first female appointed to Professorship in the Faculty of Medicine (1983) at the University of Sydney. Our alumni include heads of prestigious departments of pathology in Australia as well as pathologists internationally recognized for their sub-specialty expertise.