Other Articles
September 2, 1950


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

Dr. McGrath is a trainee of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; From the Division of Medicine and the Department of Pathology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco Hospital and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

JAMA. 1950;144(1):1-4. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920010003001

Since the pioneer report of Papanicolaou and Traut in 1943, most investigators have corroborated the application of cytologic technics to cancer diagnosis.1 Malignant cells have been identified in secretions and exudates from most accessible tracts of the body including the respiratory tract.

In the first evaluations of cytologic diagnosis of lung cancer, patients with a high incidence of carcinoma were studied. A circumscribed impression of the sensitivity and reliability of cytologic diagnosis was gained. A more meaningful appraisal of this diagnostic technic can be obtained by study of its result in a large series of cases with varied pulmonary conditions, in which lung cancer entered the differential diagnosis only as a possibility.2 Such a series is presented here, as are methods by which some of the pitfalls in evaluation and utilization of this technic may be avoided.

RESULTS OF EXAMINATIONS OF 2,066 PATIENTS  This report is a summary

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