Cytodiagnosis of cutaneous basal and squamous cell carcinoma

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ObjectiveWe performed a prospective study to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of cytologic examination in basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), in order to assess its clinical value.Study designSamples were taken by the "scraping" technique which involves scraping with a scalpel blade directly over the skin tumor surface, smearing the cells onto several glass slides, and fixing them with "citospray." The specimens were stained with the Papanicolaou stain. Punch biopsies were taken to confirm the clinical and cytologic impression.ResultsWe collected 45 skin tumors in total, clinically presumed to be either BCC (n = 15) or SCC (n = 30). Imprint cytology demonstrated to be of help in the rapid diagnosis of skin tumors.ConclusionsCytologic examination is easy to perform, saves time, provides a rapid diagnosis, and can be considered, under experienced hands, reliable in the confirmation of malignant skin tumors.Cytology does not give much information about tumor patterns or subtypes which can be related to aggressive behavior and can be very important in further therapeutic decisions. Therefore, histopathologic confirmation is mandatory before any therapeutic maneuver.

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