J Clin Pathol doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2011-200659
  • Short report

EGFR mutations detection on liquid-based cytology: is microscopy still necessary?

  1. Giancarlo Troncone1,4
  1. 1Dipartimento di Scienze Biomorfologiche e Funzionali, Università di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
  2. 2AORN Vincenzo Monaldi, Naples, Italy
  3. 3AO Antonio Cardarelli, Naples, Italy
  4. 4CEINGE–Biotecnologie Avanzate, Naples, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Giancarlo Troncone, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomorfologiche e Funzionali, Università di Napoli Federico II, via Sergio Pansini 5, Napoli I-80131, Italy; giancarlo.troncone{at}
  1. Contributors UM conceived the study and performed most of the experiments. NdR and ON contributed as primary pathologists. CB contributed as referral pathologist. DR, FV, AI and FVP contributed as oncologists. GT supervised the study and wrote the manuscript with the contribution of the other authors. GT is the guarantor of the paper. All authors read and approved the final version.

  • Received 29 December 2011
  • Revised 19 January 2012
  • Accepted 20 January 2012
  • Published Online First 1 April 2012


Currently, there is a trend towards an increasing use of liquid-based cytology (LBC) to diagnose non–small cell lung cancer. In this study, to detect epidermal growth factor receptor mutations, different molecular techniques were applied to LBC samples with and without laser capture microdissection (LCM). In 58 LBCs, DNA was extracted twice. One sample was obtained directly from CytoLyt solution, whereas the other DNA sample was derived after slide preparation and LCM of Papanicolaou-stained cells. The rate of mutant cases obtained by direct sequencing was discordant between CytoLyt-derived (10.3%) and LCM-derived (17.2%) DNA. However, the same mutant rate (17.2%) was achieved on the matched samples by high-resolution melting analysis, fragment and TaqMan assays. Thus, LCM and direct sequencing may be replaced by more sensitive non-sequencing methods directly performed on CytoLyt-derived DNA, an easier and faster approach to improve epidermal growth factor receptor testing standardisation on LBCs.


  • Funding This work was partially supported by Astrazeneca (grant number ISSIRES0025).

  • Competing interest None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Comitato Etico per le attività biomediche “Carlo Romano” n. study 185/10.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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