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Pulmonary Pathology Online

Exfoliative Pulmonary Cytology-Features of Adenocarcinoma

Dr Sampurna Roy MD       




Image1: Sputum- Group of adenocarcinoma cells. Mucinous vacuoles are present.

Image2: Bronchial washing- Group of pleomorphic malignant cells. The cytoplasmic and nuclear features are those of an adenocarcinoma.


1. The tumour is becoming more common especially in women.


2. Often peripheral and less prone to exfoliation than squamous tumors.


3. Presents mainly in cell groups and clusters, also some cell dissociation.


4. Cyanophilic delicate cytoplasm, which may be vacuolated.


5. Enlarged vesicular nuclei, prominent nuclear membranes and nucleoli.


6. Necrosis is uncommon in exfoliative cytology samples.


7. Subtyping of adenocarcinoma is difficult in cytological material.


Further reading:

Results of sputum cytology in bronchogenic carcinoma--a correlation with patient survival .

Factors significant in the diagnostic accuracy of lung cytology in bronchial washing and sputum samples. I. Bronchial washings.

Lung cancer cell type as a determinant of bronchoscopy yield.

Effect of methods of sample taking on the cytologic diagnosis of lung tumors.





Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)








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