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Cytopathology. 2014 Oct;25(5):288-301. doi: 10.1111/cyt.12170. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

FISHing for pancreatobiliary tract malignancy in endoscopic brushings enhances the sensitivity of routine cytology.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, USA.


Pancreatobiliary tract carcinoma is a lethal disease with low survival rates and limited treatment options. Diagnosis is complicated by benign conditions that can mimic malignancy on radiological studies (e.g. primary sclerosing cholangitis or PSC) and the suboptimal sensitivity of endoscopic biopsy/brushings obtained by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). The detection of multiple chromosomal gains by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), referred to as polysomy, has demonstrated improved sensitivity over routine cytological evaluation. The evaluation of brushings by both routine cytology and FISH in our cytopathology laboratory has been in clinical practice since 2003. Strong morphological and screening skills enable cytotechnologists to become proficient in the assessment of FISH slides, which translates into cost and time savings. Multiple reports from various institutions have demonstrated the utility of FISH for patients with and without PSC. The incorporation of routine cytology and FISH results into the management algorithm for patients under suspicion for pancreatobiliary malignancy is a testament to the clinical success of these cytological assays.

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


ERCP, fluorescence in situ hybridization; cholangiocarcinoma; endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; pancreatobiliary carcinoma; polysomy

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