Topic Completed: 1 September 2012

Minor changes: 24 August 2020

Revised: 31 January 2019, last major update September 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cytology lung carcinoma

Deepali Jain, M.D.
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Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Jain D. Cytology. website. Accessed January 24th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Sputum or bronchial brushings are 80 - 90% sensitive for lung carcinoma if examine 5+ sputum samples
  • Fine needle aspirate is superior to bronchoalveolar lavage for diagnosis of pathologic pathology (Mod Pathol 2002;15:1259)
  • False positives: due to misidentification of macrophages or pneumocytes - includes bronchiectasis, fungal infections, infarct, lipoid pneumonia, postradiation changes, viral pneumonia
  • False negatives: often due to sampling (Diagn Cytopathol 2012;40:556); pleural fluid cytology is often falsely negative for small cell carcinoma
  • Also useful for mutation analysis (Acta Cytol 2012;56:661)
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