Diagnostic Cytology

Fine needle aspiration, exfoliative and body cavity fluid cytology all provide valuable complementary information in diagnosis and staging (see Chapter 45). The direct smear and cytospin preparations are supplemented by formalin-fixed, paraffin-processed cell blocks of cell sediments and needle core fragments (mini-biopsies) which can combine good morphology and robust immunohistochemistry. Correlation between the cytology and histopathological findings is pivotal to accurate diagnosis (e.g., lung cancer) and staging (e.g., pelvic washings in gynaecological cancer). Cytology may also provide a diagnosis where biopsy fails due to sampling error, inaccessibility of the lesion or biopsy crush artefact.

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