Ronald Balassanian, MD


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 associate 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.

Academic Title

Associate Professor

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 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.
  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.
  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.

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.