The advent of targeted therapy in lung cancer has heralded a paradigm shift in the practice of cytopathology with the need for accurately subtyping lung carcinoma, as well as providing adequate material for molecular studies, to help guide clinical and therapeutic decisions. The variety and versatility of cytologic-specimen preparations offer significant advantages to molecular testing; however, they frequently remain underused. Therefore, evaluating the utility and adequacy of cytologic specimens is critical, not only from a lung cancer diagnosis standpoint but also for the myriad ancillary studies that are necessary to provide appropriate clinical management. A large fraction of lung cancers are diagnosed by aspiration or exfoliative cytology specimens, and thus, optimizing strategies to triage and best use the tissue for diagnosis and biomarker studies forms a critical component of lung cancer management. This review focuses on the opportunities and challenges of using cytologic specimens for molecular diagnosis of lung cancer and the role of cytopathology in the molecular era.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology