Cytology smears as diagnostic material for EGFR gene testing in non-small cell lung cancer


Aims and background

Cytology smears can be effectively used for EGFR mutation testing in the qualification of NSCLC patients for EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy. However, tissue specimens are preferred for EGFR mutation analysis. The aim of this study was to estimate the effectiveness of the real-time PCR method for EGFR testing in histology and cytology materials obtained simultaneously from NSCLC patients.


Fourteen adenocarcinoma patients with EGFR–mutation-positive primary tumor tissues were included in the study. Corresponding cytological smears of metastatic lymph nodes obtained by EBUS-TBNA were examined. EGFR Mutation Analysis Kit (EntroGen, USA) and real-time PCR (m2000rt system, Abbott, USA) were used for EGFR mutation analysis in both types of material.


In primary tumor tissues, 12 deletions in exon 19 and 2 substitutions in exon 21 (L858R mutation) of the EGFR gene were found. Except for 1 deletion in exon 19, the same EGFR gene mutations were detected in all corresponding cytology samples. The percentage of tumor cells, DNA concentration, percentage of mutated DNA as well as ΔCt values were similar in cytology slides and histology material. In both types of materials, no significant correlations were found between the percentage of tumor cells and the percentage of mutated DNA nor between the DNA concentration and the percentage of mutated DNA.


We demonstrated the high effectiveness of a sensitive real-time PCR method in EGFR gene mutation detection in cytology smears.

Tumori 2015; 101(6): e151 - e153




Tomasz Powrózek, Paweł Krawczyk, Juliusz Pankowski, Katarzyna Reszka, Magdalena Jakubiak, Anna Obrochta, Kamila Wojas-Krawczyk, Jarosław Buczkowski, Janusz Milanowski

Article History


Financial support: This study was not financialy supported.
Conflict of interest: Authors declare no conflict of interest in present study.

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  • Pneumonology, Oncology and Allergology Department, Medical University, Lublin - Poland
  • Department of Pathology, Pulmonary Hospital, Zakopane - Poland
  • Genim Genetics and Immunology Institute, Lublin - Poland

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