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Ronald Balassanian, M.D.


Dr. Ronald Balassanian is a pathologist in the Fine Needle Aspiration Clinic at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. He performs fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies, primarily on lumps or mass lesions in areas such as enlarged lymph nodes, nodules in the breast or thyroid, to help determine if a lump is benign or malignant. This procedure can yield a quick assessment, usually in a day or two. In some cases, ultrasound is used to guide the needle used to obtain a biopsy.

In his research, Balassanian studies minimally invasive diagnosis through FNA biopsy and investigates the use of molecular diagnostics to increase the value of FNA biopsy. He also studies breast cancer diagnosis, through FNA biopsy and surgical pathology.

Balassanian earned a medical degree at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington. He completed residency training in pathology and laboratory medicine, and fellowship training in surgical pathology and cytopathology, at UCSF. He is a member of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, a fellow of the College of American Pathologists, and a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, American Society of Cytopathology and the Papanicolaou Society of Cytopathology. Balassanian is an assistant professor of pathology at UCSF.


Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Clinic
1600 Divisadero St., Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-7043
Fax: (415) 353-7676

Hours: Monday to Friday
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7043
Fax: (415) 353-7676

Hours: Monday to Friday
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

More about Ronald Balassanian


University of Vermont School of Medicine 1996


UCSF Medical Center, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 1999


UCSF Medical Center, Surgical Pathology 2000
UCSF Medical Center, Cytopathology 2001

Selected Research and Publications

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Chou SH, Chawla A, Lee TH, Zhou Y, Busch MP, Balassanian R, Ferrell L, Cowan MJ. Increased engraftment and GVHD after in utero transplantation of MHC-mismatched bone marrow cells and CD80low, CD86(-) dendritic cells in a fetal mouse model. Transplantation. 2001 Dec 15; 72(11):1768-76.
  9. Baehner R, Magrane G, Balassanian R, Chang C, Millward C, Wakil AE, Osorio RW, Waldman FM. Donor origin of neuroendocrine carcinoma in 2 transplant patients determined by molecular cytogenetics. Hum Pathol. 2000 Nov; 31(11):1425-9.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.