Liquid Based Cytology LBC

At Armenian-German Scientific and Practical Center of Pathology HistoGen liquid based cytology testing is performed, which has numerous advantages compared to the traditional method.


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It allows us to prepare cell blocks that will be used to perform further immunohistochemical and molecular testings. What is liquid based cytology technique and how is it different from the traditional one? In order to detect precancerous and cancerous processes of different organs and organ systems usually smears (e.g. from uterine cervix) or aspirates (e.g. from thyroid gland nodules, lymph nodes, breast lesions), or pleural or peritoneal fluids are sampled.

These manipulations are considered less invasive than biopsies. Slides that are prepared by traditional method usually contain large amount of blood and inflammatory infiltration, which, unfortunately, can lead to misdiagnosis by obscuring cells that are important for proper diagnosis.

Liquid based cytology is more modern and is used by many leading laboratories around the world. In comparison to the traditional method, to prepare liquid based cytological slides, first of all the sample needs to be centrifuged. Out of the precipitate not only cytological slides are made, but also cell blocks, just like histological ones that are then stained appropriately.

This method allows us to not only get “rid of” unnecessary elements by leaving only the “important” ones, but also lets us apply immunohistochemical and molecular testings on the sample later. Moreover, it’s proven that only 35% of the sample is used for traditionally made slides, while for the liquid based cytological slides the whole sample is used. It prevents the cytologist from missing out the suspicious/ atypical cells, thus avoiding false negative results.

The next advantage is that in cytological slides made by liquid based method the cells are left almost intact, they keep their shape, size, appearance and molecular structure. The artifacts (for example air under the glass) are less likely to occur. Also, condensing the cells to smaller area allows the cytologist to save time by looking at less slides and gives the opportunity to give the right diagnosis in less amount of time. This is very important especially for the clinician to choose the right management for the patient.