Metaphase cytogenetics has become an established technique in the evaluation of leukaemias and other haematological conditions. Although it is not used routinely in solid tumours, the detection of specific translocations or other cytogenetic abnormalities may be useful in paediatric and soft tissue tumours. Metaphase cytogenetics requires fresh tissue which should be taken under sterile conditions. Small cubes of minced tissue are placed in tissue culture medium and sent to the cytogenetics laboratory. More detailed karyotypes can now be gleaned from metaphase spreads due to improved chromosome banding techniques and technical innovations such as chromosome painting and spectral karyotyping. These techniques have an established role in the classification of leukaemias, lymphomas and myeloproliferative disorders in large centres and may be used in solid tumours such as kidney tumours, small round blue cell tumours of childhood and soft tissue lesions.

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