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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2014 Jul;138(7):885-9. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2012-0680-CP.

Nongynecologic cytology practice patterns: a survey of participants in the College of American Pathologists interlaboratory comparison program in nongynecologic cytopathology.

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  • 1From the Department of Esoteric Testing, AmeriPath Indiana, Indianapolis (Dr Moriarty); the Department of Cytopathology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Nayar); the Department of Pathology, McGill University and McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Dr Auger); the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Dr Kurtycz); the Departments of Surveys (Ms Thomas) and Biostatistics (Ms Souers), College of American Pathologists, Northfield, Illinois; the Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (Dr Laucirica); the Department of Pathology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire (Dr Padmanabhan); the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas (Dr Schwartz); and the Department of Pathology, University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky (Dr Fraig).



Nongynecologic cytology (NGC) practices are expected to expand relative to gynecologic cytology. The College of American Pathologists attempts to track practice patterns in NGC using a self-reported questionnaire.


To analyze self-reported laboratory staffing and practices from a 2010 survey relating to NGC specimens, stains, preparation, procedures, and ancillary testing.


The "NGC 2010 Demographics and Supplemental Questionnaire: Current Nongynecologic Practices in Cytopathology Laboratories" was mailed to 2059 laboratories.


Survey response rate was 51% (1048 of 2059), predominantly from voluntary, nonprofit hospitals, where NGC samples were reviewed in nontraining settings by pathologists without American Board of Pathology Added Qualification in Cytopathology. Cytotechnologists reviewed NGC cases in 67.4% (675 of 1002) of laboratories. The annual mean and median volumes of NGC cases were 1927 and 858, respectively. Laboratories used more than one method to process NGCs; cell-blocks were most frequently used (930 of 1029; 90.4%) and were created with centrifugation to pellet (538 of 961; 56%). Direct smears were second in preparation frequency; discrete staining was preferred to batch staining. Nongynecologic cytology was used for molecular studies in 34.9% (350 of 1002) of laboratories, most commonly for fluorescent in situ hybridization of urine specimens. Flow cytometric immunophenotyping was performed by 55.9% (554 of 991) and immunohistochemistry by 91.9% (911 of 991) of the responding laboratories. Most laboratories (911 of 993; 91.7%) report specimen completion in 2 or fewer days. Cytohistologic correlation was performed by 71.6% (722 of 1008) of the laboratories both concurrently and retrospectively.


The various parameters examined in the 2010 survey provide a benchmark for future efforts in quality assurance and process improvement in NGC.

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