Massachusetts General Hospital

Cytopathology

Contact

Medical Director: Martha Pitman, MD 617-726-3185
Technical Director: Brenda Sweeney 617-726-3980
Technical Specialist: Ronald Arpin 617-726-3980

Lab Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Description

Specimen Delivery

Specimen delivery should be between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm to the Cytoprep Area at Warren 113. When the laboratory is closed, specimens should be delivered to the Core Laboratory.

Specimen Collection

  • All smears should be fixed immediately in 95% ethyl alcohol and delivered to Warren 113, as soon as possible.
  • All non-smeared specimens (e.g., urines, sputum, CSF, liquid-based GYN) should be fresh, in a clean container and delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible, preferably within one hour. Refrigerate if greater than one hour.
  • No 24-hour collections are acceptable.
  • All specimens must be labeled with the patient’s full name and unit number and must be accompanied by a properly completed Epic Cytopathology requisition.
  • All pertinent information must be included to ensure accurate cytological evaluation and to comply with federal regulations.

Criteria for Specimen Refusal

Cytopathology reserves the right to refuse specimens that arrive improperly labeled, improperly packaged or with incomplete information on the requisition.

General Interpretation

The general interpretation system used in evaluating Cytopathology specimens is as follows:

  • Cervico/Vaginal (PAP) Smears
    • Negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy
    • Epithelial cell abnormality – squamous/glandular, with narrative description
    • Unsatisfactory: specimen on which diagnosis cannot be made for stated reason
  • Non-Gynecological Specimens
    • Unsatisfactory: specimen on which diagnosis cannot be made for stated reasons
    • Negative: cells which do not deviate from normal
    • Atypical: cells which deviate from normal, which may be of a reactive or neoplastic etiology
    • Suspicious: cells which are suggestive for malignancy, but not conclusive
    • Positive: cells which are conclusive for malignancy

Results

Results are available as tests are completed, on a daily basis.