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Original Research: LUNG CANCER |

Multitarget Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization Elucidates Equivocal Lung Cytology*

Spasenija Savic, MD; Katharina Glatz, MD; René Schoenegg, MD; Peter Spieler, MD; Georg Feichter, MD; Michael Tamm, MD; Lukas Bubendorf, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Institute for Pathology (Drs. Savic, Glatz, Feichter, and Bubendorf) and Department of Pneumology (Dr. Tamm), University Hospital Basel, Basel; and Institute for Pathology (Drs. Schoenegg and Spieler), Cantonal Hospital, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Correspondence to: Spasenija Savic, MD, Institute for Pathology, University Hospital Schönbeinstrasse 40, 4003 Basel, Switzerland; e-mail: ssavic@uhbs.ch



Chest. 2006;129(6):1629-1635. doi:10.1378/chest.129.6.1629
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The category of equivocal respiratory cytology is a common diagnostic dilemma to both cytopathologists and clinicians. Chromosomal alterations are a hallmark of cancer but are rare or absent in benign conditions. The goal of this study was to test the ability of multitarget fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for dissecting equivocal respiratory cytology into reactive and malignant categories. A consecutive series of 54 Papanicolaou-stained cytologic specimens of the lung was analyzed. The Papanicolaou-stained atypical cell groups were photographed, and the exact locations on the specimens were saved using automated stage and relocation software. The specimens were hybridized with a multitarget FISH probe that contains a mixture of fluorescent probes to the centromeric region of chromosome 6 and to the 5p15, 8q24 (site of the MYC gene) and 7p12 (site of the EGFR gene) loci. The hybridized atypical cells were selectively scored after relocation. A final diagnosis was available in 45 patients, revealing lung carcinoma in 55.5% (n = 25), no evidence of malignancy in 37.8% (n = 17), and pulmonary metastasis of another primary carcinoma in 6.7% (n = 3). FISH results were negative in all 17 patients with benign pulmonary disease and positive in 20 of the 25 patients (80%) with lung carcinoma (p < 0.0001). The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for detection of malignancy were 79%, 100%, 100%, and 74%, respectively. These data suggest that multitarget FISH in conjunction with automated relocation is a powerful approach for the elucidation of equivocal lung cytology.

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