Imprint cytology of nasopharyngeal biopsies

Tsu Yi Chao, Wen Yaw Chiou, Jia Guang Liang, Tang Yi Tsao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To use an instant cytologic diagnostic method to examine touch imprints of nasopharyngeal (NP) biopsies. This method aimed to ensure the adequacy of biopsied specimens for histologic examination. This paper describes the morphologic findings of NP lesions examined by this method. STUDY DESIGN: Imprints were made from NP biopsies from patients suspicious for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). These imprints were air dried, stained with Diff-Quik and examined immediately. The adequacy of the specimens was assessed, and the findings of the imprints were interpreted as positive-, negative- or suspicious for NPC. Repeat biopsies and cytologic studies were done as indicated. In selected cases, immunocytochemical staining was done to identify cells on the imprints. Histologic examination of the biopsied specimens served as the control. RESULTS: With this method we could interpret the imprints within five minutes of their receipt and determine if repeat biopsy was needed. In benign lesions, the imprints often contained many cells, most mature and reactive lymphocytes. These cells and the numerous lymphoglandular bodies (fragments of lymphoid cytoplasm) intermingled with the ciliated and squamous epithelial cells. In cases of NPC, the appearance was discrete, or clusters of, carcinoma cells or naked nuclei. They were less cellular than those of benign lesions. The lymphocytes were markedly depleted. Cells of dubious lineage were identified by the additional use of immunocytochemical studies. CONCLUSION: Cytologic examination of imprints of NP biopsies helps to determine the adequacy of the specimen for histologic examination. It is a rapid, practical method with high diagnostic accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1226
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Imprint cytology
  • Nasopharyngeal neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


Dive into the research topics of 'Imprint cytology of nasopharyngeal biopsies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this