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Endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration and liquid-based thin-layer cytology


Background: Optimal management of patients with lung cancer requires accurate cell typing of tumours and staging at the time of diagnosis. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided lymph node aspiration as a method of diagnosing and staging lung cancer is a relatively new technique.

Aim: To report the use of liquid-based-thin-layer cytology for the processing and reporting of these specimens.

Methods: The specimens obtained from 80 patients were processed using the ThinPrep system, with the remainder of the samples being processed as a cell block.

Results: 40 of the 81 procedures yielded malignant cells (30 non-small cell carcinoma, 8 small-cell carcinoma and 2 combined small-cell carcinoma/non-small-cell carcinoma). The cell blocks were found to contain sufficient material to allow the immunohistochemical characterisation of tumour cells with a range of antibodies.

Conclusion: The use of liquid-based-thin-layer cytological techniques provides high-quality specimens for diagnostic purposes. When used in conjunction with cell blocks, sufficient material may be obtained to allow immunohistochemical studies to confirm the tumour cell type. Given the current move towards centralisation of pathology services, this approach gives the pathologist high-quality specimens without the need for direct onsite support at the time of the procedure.

  • EBUS–FNA, endobronchial ultrasound fine-needle aspiration
  • PAP, Papanicolaou
  • TTF1, thyroid transcription factor1

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