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February 20, 1967

Exfoliative Cytology of the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology, University of Chicago School of Medicine. Dr. Taebel is now at the Gundersen Clinic, La Crosse, Wis.

JAMA. 1967;199(8):570-573. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120080104019

The utilization of exfoliative cytology as a diagnostic tool is dependent in part upon the decreased adherence of malignant cells to each other, and to well-defined cytostructure indications of malignancy. It was applied as a method to diagnose gastrointestinal cancer as early as 1858 by Beale, and reemphasized by Marini in 1909, who first employed gastric lavage. Because of the development of x-ray and endoscopic techniques, the cytological method was not used extensively until 1940, with the advent of special staining techniques by Papanicolaou. Since that time, the value and accuracy of exfoliative cytology in evaluating the gastrointestinal tract have been emphasized repeatedly, particularly by Rubin, Raskin, and others from this laboratory.1-4 In addition, the reproducibility of these results and the reliability of the procedure are evident from the accuracy rates of similar magnitude emanating from other laboratories.5

Basic Concepts  There are three categories of cytostructural changes which