The Section of Cytopathology provides diverse services in exfoliative cytology and fine needle aspiration.  A six fellow Cytopathology Fellowship is administered within the section.  In addition, work experience and supervision is provided to rotational Cytotechnology students from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s School of Health Professions.  

Exfoliative Cytopathology

Exfoliative Cytopathology encompasses gynecological specimens, including Pap tests, non-gynecological specimens, e.g., fluids, brushings / washings, and outside consultation slides.  Specimens are received from various clinics and inpatient floors, as well as doctor offices outside the institution.  Specimens are processed, stained, and coverslipped for microscopic review by cytotechnologist/pathologists.  Slides for ancillary studies and cell block preparations are made as needed.

Fine Needle Aspiration Service

The demand for low-cost, high-turnaround types of diagnostic procedures and the advances in clinical/radiological methodologies, e.g., fast multicut CT, ultrasound, MRI, and endoscopy, have increased aspiration services.  The Section of Cytopathology maintains two superficial aspiration services one for all patients with palpable lesions and another specifically for the breast patient.  In addition, endoscopic and/or radiological derived aspirations are also handled by the Cytopathology Section through controlling, in most cases, the pre-analytical variables of smearing and specimen triage (post-acquisition of specimen) and rendering an immediate assessment of specimen adequacy and/or diagnosis in most cases.  These services support Diagnostic Imaging Services at the Alkek and Mays Clinics, Head & Neck Ultrasound Service (including the Thyroid Nodule Clinic), Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Clinic, Pulmonary’s and Surgery’s Endoscopic Bronchial Ultrasound Services, Breast Ultrasound Service and General Ultrasound Service.  

The diversity of tumors seen at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center requires a heavy emphasis to be placed on the use of special stains, immunochemistry, flow cytometry, cytogenetics and molecular testing.  Cases are evaluated not only for the purposes of rendering a diagnosis, but for prognostic concerns and treatment selection.  Tissues are also procured for on-going research initiatives and for the Section’s Tissue Bank Repository which facilitates future research project development.