Cancer diagnostics

Specialist pathology teams

The specialist pathology teams at The Royal Marsden are located at both Chelsea and Sutton hospitals and offer a variety of clinical diagnostics services to NHS, private and research clients, both in the UK & overseas.

Our teams offer services for solid tumour analysis, haematological malignancies and genetic abnormality associated with malignancy as independent tests as well as working together as a part of a multi-disciplinary team of highly skilled scientists to produce comprehensive and consolidated diagnostics reports, including the provision of integrated reporting as part of the Haematological Malignancies Diagnostic Service (HMDS).

All our laboratories are accredited to BSI EN ISO 15189:2012. 

Molecular diagnostics

Our specialised molecular diagnostics service provides rapid and accurate profiling of solid tumours and haematological malignancies.

Our main focus is to provide access to personalised medicine by improving diagnostic strategies, precision molecular stratification of cancer patients and the suitability of targeted therapies.

We offer a responsive and timely service, with the view to rapidly implement innovative molecular investigations specific to oncology.

Specialist Integrated Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service (SIHMDS)

State-of-the-art technology and world-class expertise combine to provide The Royal Marsden's Specialist Integrated Haematological Malignancies Diagnostic Service, based in Sutton.

Composed of our histopathology, molecular diagnostics, immunophenotyping and cytogenetics laboratories, the service continually breaks new ground in the diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of haematological malignancies and other cancers.

This comprehensive service aims to provide targeted, cost-effective and timely diagnostic results that improve patient outcomes.


Two types of assay are provided to look for genetic abnormalities associated with malignancy:

  • Karyotype analysis is a pan-genomic assay that detects most of the chromosome abnormalities associated with diagnosis and prognosis, as well as secondary and unexpected abnormalities
  • FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridisation) is a robust test using DNA probes that can detect gene amplification, genetic gains and losses, gene fusions and other structural abnormalities


We provide a histopathology consultative service which offers a complete diagnostic service for surgical pathology, including an extensive array of immunohistochemical antibodies and tinctorial stains.

We have particular consultant expertise in soft tissue sarcomas, haematological, genito-urinary and gynaecological malignancies.


State-of-the-art flow cytometry instrumentation and software and multicolour antibody panels are used to deliver rapid and accurate diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of haematological malignancies.

This approach provides a powerful tool for the identification of abnormal cellular populations, even at rare event levels, and in paucicellular samples.