University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ronald Balassanian, MD

Ronald Balassanian, MD

Associate Clinical Professor of Pathology, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Breast Oncology

Research Summary

My primary clinical focus has been the FNA biopsy service. I am currently the Site Director for the Mission Bay hospital where we are setting up FNA services for both clinic patients as well as radiology guided FNAs. I also cover the FNA services at Mt. Zion and Moffitt-Long hospitals and sign-out general cytology and breast surgical pathology. In June of 2009, I underwent training and certification by the College of American Pathologists for using ultrasound guidance for FNA biopsy.

At UCSF, I have focused on helping to implement and expand ultrasound guidance for FNA biopsy at the Mt Zion Clinic. I present at the weekly UCSF Breast Tumor Board conference. I personally cover the Radiology-Pathology Correlation Conference with Dr. Bonnie Joe, Director of Women's Imaging at Mt Zion. I am working with Dr. Laura van 't Veer, Director of the Breast Oncology Program and Applied Genomics, to develop clinical applications for molecular diagnostics in the FNA setting.

Prior to joining UCSF in 2011, I was working at Massachusetts General Hospital on the FNA/Cytology service and breast surgical pathology. Prior to working at MGH, I was the director of the UPMC Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Clinic and Service at UPMC Shadyside, from Jan 2006 to May 2007.

Education

University of Washington, Seattle, BS, 06/89, Cell Biology
University of Washington, Seattle, BA, 06/89, English Literature
University of Vermont, Burlington, College of Medicine, MD, 05/96, Surgery major
University of Vermont, Burlington, Pathology, Student fellow, 12/94, Pathology
New York University, New York, PGY1 Resident, 06/97, Pathology
University of California San Francisco, Resident, 06/98, Pathology
University of California San Francisco, Resident, 06/99, Pathology & Lab Med
University of California San Francisco, Fellow, 06/00, Surgical Pathology
University of California San Francisco, Fellow, 06/01, Cytopathology
University of California San Francisco, Chief Resident, 12/00, Pathology
University of California San Francisco, Resident, 06/02, Laboratory Medicine


Professional Experience

  • 2002-2003
    Assistant Attending, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY
  • 2003-2004
    Attending Pathologist, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Continuum Health Partners , Beth Israel Medical Center, Phillips Ambulatory Cancer Center, Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Clinic, New York, NY
  • 2003-2004
    Attending Pathologist, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Continuum Health Partners, Saint Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, New York, NY
  • 2004-2007
    Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2004-2007
    Attending Pathologist, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2005-2007
    Attending Pathologist, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC Magee Women's Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2006-2007
    Director, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC Shadyside, FNA Biopsy Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2007-2010
    Pathologist, Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Pathology & Cytopathology, Boston, MA
  • 2014-present
    Associate Clinical Professor, Pathology, UCSF
  • 2011-2014
    Assistant Clinical Professor, Pathology, UCSF 
  • 2007-2010
    Assistant Attending, Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • 2007-2010
    Instructor, Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Honors & Awards

  • 1991
    Honorary Technical Consultant, Cancer Information Service of the Pacific, National Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
  • 1995
    Robert Larner, M.D. Medical Student Loan Fund Award, University of Vermont, College of Medicine
  • 1996
    James E. Demeules Surgical Research Prize, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Department of Surgery
  • 1998
    "Medical Student Teaching Award", University of California, San Francisco, Department of Pathology
  • 2010
    "Excellence in Teaching Award in Anatomic Pathology", Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Pathology , Residents and Fellows
  • 2007
    "Outstanding Teaching in Anatomic Pathology", University of Pittsburgh, Department of Pathology, Residents and Fellows

Selected Publications

  1. Gradishar WJ, Anderson BO, Balassanian R, Blair SL, Burstein HJ, Cyr A, Elias AD, Farrar WB, Forero A, Giordano SH, Goetz MP, Goldstein LJ, Isakoff SJ, Lyons J, Marcom PK, Mayer IA, McCormick B, Moran MS, O'Regan RM, Patel SA, Pierce LJ, Reed EC, Salerno KE, Schwartzberg LS, Sitapati A, Smith KL, Smith ML, Soliman H, Somlo G, Telli ML, Ward JH, Kumar R, Shead DA. Breast Cancer, Version 4.2017, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2018 Mar; 16(3):310-320.
    View on PubMed
  2. Qiao Y, Hayward JH, Balassanian R, Ray KM, Joe BN, Lee AY. Tuberculosis mastitis presenting as bilateral breast masses. Clin Imaging. 2018 Feb 23; 52:28-31.
    View on PubMed
  3. Lindström LS, Yau C, Czene K, Thompson CK, Hoadley KA, Van't Veer LJ, Balassanian R, Bishop JW, Carpenter PM, Chen YY, Datnow B, Hasteh F, Krings G, Lin F, Zhang Y, Nordenskjöld B, Stål O, Benz CC, Fornander T, Borowsky AD, Esserman LJ. Intratumor Heterogeneity of the Estrogen Receptor and the Long-term Risk of Fatal Breast Cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Jan 19.
    View on PubMed
  4. Maglione KD, Lee AY, Ray KM, Joe BN, Balassanian R. Radiologic-Pathologic Correlation for Benign Results After MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2017 Aug; 209(2):442-453.
    View on PubMed
  5. Gradishar WJ, Anderson BO, Balassanian R, Blair SL, Burstein HJ, Cyr A, Elias AD, Farrar WB, Forero A, Giordano SH, Goetz MP, Goldstein LJ, Isakoff SJ, Lyons J, Marcom PK, Mayer IA, McCormick B, Moran MS, O'Regan RM, Patel SA, Pierce LJ, Reed EC, Salerno KE, Schwartzberg LS, Sitapati A, Smith KL, Smith ML, Soliman H, Somlo G, Telli M, Ward JH, Shead DA, Kumar R. NCCN Guidelines Insights: Breast Cancer, Version 1.2017. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2017 04; 15(4):433-451.
    View on PubMed
  6. Ly A, Ono JC, Hughes KS, Pitman MB, Balassanian R. Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy of Palpable Breast Masses: Patterns of Clinical Use and Patient Experience. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2016 05; 14(5):527-36.
    View on PubMed
  7. Balassanian R, Wool GD, Ono JC, Olejnik-Nave J, Mah MM, Sweeney BJ, Liberman H, Ljung BM, Pitman MB. A superior method for cell block preparation for fine-needle aspiration biopsies. Cancer Cytopathol. 2016 Jul; 124(7):508-18.
    View on PubMed
  8. Gradishar WJ, Anderson BO, Balassanian R, Blair SL, Burstein HJ, Cyr A, Elias AD, Farrar WB, Forero A, Giordano SH, Goetz M, Goldstein LJ, Hudis CA, Isakoff SJ, Marcom PK, Mayer IA, McCormick B, Moran M, Patel SA, Pierce LJ, Reed EC, Salerno KE, Schwartzberg LS, Smith KL, Smith ML, Soliman H, Somlo G, Telli M, Ward JH, Shead DA, Kumar R. Invasive Breast Cancer Version 1.2016, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2016 Mar; 14(3):324-54.
    View on PubMed
  9. Gradishar WJ, Anderson BO, Balassanian R, Blair SL, Burstein HJ, Cyr A, Elias AD, Farrar WB, Forero A, Giordano SH, Goetz M, Goldstein LJ, Hudis CA, Isakoff SJ, Marcom PK, Mayer IA, McCormick B, Moran M, Patel SA, Pierce LJ, Reed EC, Salerno KE, Schwartzberg LS, Smith KL, Smith ML, Soliman H, Somlo G, Telli M, Ward JH, Shead DA, Kumar R. NCCN Guidelines Insights Breast Cancer, Version 1.2016. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2015 Dec; 13(12):1475-85.
    View on PubMed
  10. Engelberg JA, Retallack H, Balassanian R, Dowsett M, Zabaglo L, Ram AA, Apple SK, Bishop JW, Borowsky AD, Carpenter PM, Chen YY, Datnow B, Elson S, Hasteh F, Lin F, Moatamed NA, Zhang Y, Cardiff RD. "Score the Core" Web-based pathologist training tool improves the accuracy of breast cancer IHC4 scoring. Hum Pathol. 2015 Nov; 46(11):1694-704.
    View on PubMed
  11. Gradishar WJ, Anderson BO, Balassanian R, Blair SL, Burstein HJ, Cyr A, Elias AD, Farrar WB, Forero A, Giordano SH, Goetz M, Goldstein LJ, Hudis CA, Isakoff SJ, Marcom PK, Mayer IA, McCormick B, Moran M, Patel SA, Pierce LJ, Reed EC, Salerno KE, Schwartzberg LS, Smith KL, Smith ML, Soliman H, Somlo G, Telli M, Ward JH, Shead DA, Kumar R. Breast Cancer Version 2.2015. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2015 Apr; 13(4):448-75.
    View on PubMed
  12. Owonikoko T, Agha M, Balassanian R, Smith R, Raptis A. Gemtuzumab therapy for isolated extramedullary AML relapse following allogeneic stem-cell transplant. Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2007 Aug; 4(8):491-5.
    View on PubMed
  13. Raab SS, Grzybicki DM, Sudilovsky D, Balassanian R, Janosky JE, Vrbin CM. Effectiveness of Toyota process redesign in reducing thyroid gland fine-needle aspiration error. Am J Clin Pathol. 2006 Oct; 126(4):585-92.
    View on PubMed
  14. Valdes EK, Boolbol SK, Cohen JM, Balassanian R, Feldman SM. Clinical Experience With Mammary Ductoscopy. Ann Surg Oncol. 2016 Dec; 23(Suppl 5):9015-9019.
    View on PubMed
  15. Raab SS, Vrbin CM, Grzybicki DM, Sudilovsky D, Balassanian R, Zarbo RJ, Meier FA. Errors in thyroid gland fine-needle aspiration. Am J Clin Pathol. 2006 Jun; 125(6):873-82.
    View on PubMed
  16. Nodit L, Balassanian R, Sudilovsky D, Raab SS. Improving the quality of cytology diagnosis: root cause analysis for errors in bronchial washing and brushing specimens. Am J Clin Pathol. 2005 Dec; 124(6):883-92.
    View on PubMed
  17. Valdes EK, Feldman SM, Balassanian R, Cohen JM, Boolbol SK. Diagnosis of recurrent breast cancer by ductoscopy. Breast J. 2005 Nov-Dec; 11(6):506.
    View on PubMed
  18. Gendler LS, Feldman SM, Balassanian R, Riker MA, Frencher SK, Whelan DB, Anne S, Gross JD, Cohen JM, Boolbol SK. Association of breast cancer with papillary lesions identified at percutaneous image-guided breast biopsy. Am J Surg. 2004 Oct; 188(4):365-70.
    View on PubMed

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