For several years prior to 1943, Dr. Papanicolaou and his staff had been investigating a smear cytologic technique for the investigation of cancerous lesions of the vagina, cervix, and uterus. They found early that, because of the amount of blood and mucus in most smears from the vagina, the usual stains were inadequate as the technique stained all the material, so that finding the abnormal cells was difficult. They devised a stain which picked out the nuclei of aberrant cells and left most of the background unstained. All this material was published in a beautifully illustrated monograph entitled Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vagina Smear.1 Since that time, this technique has been very widely used, and there is a tremendous amount of literature on its application. Some time later, this technique was used in the investigation of pleural effusions, urine, gastric washings, smears from mouth and throat, bronchi,
WOODBURNE AR, PHILPOTT OS, PHILPOTT JA. Cytologic Studies in Skin Cancer. Arch Dermatol. 1960;82(6):992–997. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.01580060148024
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