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April 1958

Gastrointestinal Cancer: Definitive Diagnosis by Exfoliative Cytology

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, The School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Surg. 1958;76(4):507-516. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1958.01280220027005

Introduction  In recent years exfoliative cytology has become increasingly useful as a method of diagnosing cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. The cytologic procedures, as illustrated on the following pages, demonstrate the relative simplicity of the techniques. The methods of obtaining malignant cells from the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and colon are satisfactorily performed by trained cytotechnicians. The presence of a physician is required for the occasional difficult intubation and for final interpretation of slides. It is most advisable for the person who actually performs the test to read the slides in order to evaluate the material best. Certain fundamentals of technique should be adhered to strictly. For instance, the least possible delay between aspiration and fixation of the material is constantly stressed in order to achieve good cellular preservation. A measure of skill is required in manipulating esophageal and gastric tubes when obstruction, gastroenterostomy, subtotal resection, or other anatomical abnormalities are