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J Cytol. 2019 Apr-Jun;36(2):124-127. doi: 10.4103/JOC.JOC_135_18.

Lung Molecular Cytopathology: EGFR and Beyond.

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Department of Pathology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Lung cancer (LC) is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Unfortunately, most patients of LC present at the advanced stage of the disease with a poor prognosis and 1-year survival of less than 20%. At the advanced stage of the disease, surgical resection cannot be possible, hence small biopsy or cytology specimens remain a choice for their correct diagnosis. The recognition of molecular drivers has revolutionized the treatment paradigm of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations were identified, first, to be targeted in NSCLC followed by activating fusions in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and rearrangements in c-ros oncogene 1 (ROS1) genes. In addition, the encouraging progress of immunotherapy in patients with NSCLC has been associated with predictive biomarker testing in the form of programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) immunohistochemistry assay. To test for these alterations, accurate biomarker testing is needed from biopsy or cytology specimens. In this brief review, testing of biomarkers is discussed using cytology specimens.


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase; Epidermal growth factor receptor; c-ros oncogene 1; cytology; lung cancer; programmed death ligand-1

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