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Molecular cytopathology: opportunities and challenges
  1. Fernando C Schmitt (fernando.schmitt{at}
  1. IPATIMUP and Medical Faculty of Porto, Portugal
    1. Adhemar Longatto (longatto{at}
    1. Life and Health Sciences Research institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho,, Portugal
      1. Alexander Valent (avalent{at}
      1. Institut Gustave Roussy, France
        1. Philippe Vielh (vielh{at}
        1. Institut Gustave Roussy, France


          The last decade was stimulating with the introduction of new molecular techniques to be applied in pathology laboratories. Accordingly, cytology was also benefited with the innovations emerged from this new era. Molecular cytopathology (MCP) can be defined as molecular studies applied on all types of cytological specimens, namely gynaecology cytology, exfoliative non-gyn cytology and fine needle aspirates. The development of a huge amount of new ancillary techniques has paralleled the emergence of clinical cytology as a major diagnostic speciality. Clinical applications of these techniques have been growing in the last decade. The widespread acceptance of liquid-based systems in gynaecological cytology is a paramount episode which re-draws the relation between cells and molecules. The stretched use of approaches, morphology and molecular biology, in HPV-induced lesions settings, e.g., revealed a potential to optimize, in one single brushed sample, diagnosis and research. Cytology samples from serous effusions, pulmonary tree, bladder urine, and aspirations, among others, are now likely to be studied by different molecular techniques for helping in diagnosis, prognosis, or even to assess therapeutic targets. In this review, we highlight the main results already published concerning the application of molecular techniques in different fields of cytopathology and discuss their application.

          • Cytopathology
          • FISH
          • FNA
          • Molecular biology

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