Dehner receives pathologists’ highest honor

Louis P. “Pepper” Dehner, M.D., a faculty member at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, received the Distinguished Pathologist Award of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) at the academy’s 2009 annual meeting. Held in Boston March 7-13, the meeting is the largest annual gathering of pathologists, and the Distinguished Pathologist Award is its highest honor.


Dehner, professor of pathology and immunology and professor of pathology in pediatrics, is renowned for his skills as a surgical pathologist and for his work in diagnosing childhood tumors.

“Among his many achievements, one of the most significant has been his leadership in the initial characterization of the pediatric neoplasm known as pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB),” says Peter Humphrey, M.D., Ph.D., the Ladenson Professor of Pathology in Pathology and Immunology. “The condition leads to formation of lung tumors in the first five years of life and also can cause brain cancer and other tumors, and when Dr. Dehner began his work, about half of the children with this condition did not survive.”

Thanks to the groundwork laid by Dehner, physicians are working to improve survival rates by increasing early diagnosis of PPB at its cystic stage prior to the development of solid, high sarcomas. The disorder is now being characterized at the molecular and genetic level via an international PPB family registry that Dehner helped create together with Jack Priest, M.D., a pediatric hematologist-oncologist in St. Paul, Minn.

Dehner earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in 1962 and graduated from the University’s School of Medicine in 1966. He completed his residency in pathology at Barnes Hospital. He has served as surgical-pathologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and was previously pathologist-in-chief and chairman of pathology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.