Proceedings of the American Society of Cytopathology companion session at the 2019 United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology Annual meeting, part 2: effusion cytology with focus on theranostics and diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma.

Journey of the American Society of Cytopathology 2019 August 8 [Link]

Siddiqui MT, Schmitt F, Churg A


We live in the “era” of minimally invasive procedures, molecular testing, and personalized care. Effusions have a high sensitivity and will often yield diagnostic cytological material. The companion session presented by the American Society of Cytopathology at the 2019 United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology meeting outlined our current and future projected practices in characterizing, managing, and diagnosing serous cavity fluids. In this second part, the role of theranostics and the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, as was discussed at the meeting, have been highlighted. In theranostics, a vast amount of data has been reported regarding the epidermal growth factor receptor and related molecules. Some studies have also reported on HER2 immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. This follows the most active areas of research in targeted therapy. Furthermore, during this session, malignant mesothelioma was extensively discussed. The cytologic diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma in effusion specimens has been controversial; however, a definitive diagnosis will be possible in many cases. Radiologic information should be sought, because the radiologist can often provide a definite or very likely diagnosis of malignancy. Microscopically, high cellularity and/or numerous balls of cells or papillary groups will favor the diagnosis of mesothelioma. It is important to exclude metastatic carcinoma with a broad-spectrum carcinoma marker, of which claudin-4 has been the best, because it will not cross react with mesothelioma. BAP1 and MTAP immunohistochemistry and CDKN2A fluorescence in situ hybridization are very useful adjunctive techniques for separating benign from malignant mesothelial proliferations. The use of 2 of these approaches together will produce a sensitivity of 80% to 90% for epithelial mesotheliomas in the pleura, although the sensitivity has been lower in the peritoneal cavity.