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Cytopathology. 2018 Apr;29(2):125-132. doi: 10.1111/cyt.12534.

Cytological preparations for molecular analysis: A review of technical procedures, advantages and limitations for referring samples for testing.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Pathology, Santa Casa Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Pathology, AC Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Public Health, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.
Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.


Minimally invasive procedures such as endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) must yield not only good quality and quantity of material for morphological assessment, but also an adequate sample for analysis of molecular markers to guide patients to appropriate targeted therapies. In this context, cytopathologists worldwide should be familiar with minimum requirements for refereeing cytological samples for testing. The present manuscript is a review with comprehensive description of the content of the workshop entitled Cytological preparations for molecular analysis: pre-analytical issues for EBUS TBNA, presented at the 40th European Congress of Cytopathology in Liverpool, UK. The present review emphasises the advantages and limitations of different types of cytology substrates used for molecular analysis such as archival smears, liquid-based preparations, archival cytospin preparations and FTA (Flinders Technology Associates) cards, as well as their technical requirements/features. These various types of cytological specimens can be successfully used for an extensive array of molecular studies, but the quality and quantity of extracted nucleic acids rely directly on adequate pre-analytical assessment of those samples. In this setting, cytopathologists must not only be familiar with the different types of specimens and associated technical procedures, but also correctly handle the material provided by minimally invasive procedures, ensuring that there is sufficient amount of material for a precise diagnosis and correct management of the patient through personalised care.


DNA; FNA; FTA cards; cell block; cytology; cytospin preparation; endobronchial ultrasound guided transbronchial needle aspiration; molecular cytopathology; smears

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