Small core needle biopsies in cytology practice: a survey of members of the American Society of Cytopathology

Michael J. Thrall, Colleen Vrbin, Güliz A. Barkan, Sara E. Monaco, Stefan E. Pambuccian, Liron Pantanowitz, Martha B. Pitman, Daniel F.I. Kurtycz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: The introduction of a new generation of core needle biopsies (CNBs) for endoscopic procedures has prompted reconsideration of the role of cytopathologists in the handling of small biopsies. The American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) has therefore conducted a survey with the intention of elucidating current practices regarding the handling of small CNBs. Materials and methods: The membership of the ASC was invited by email to participate in an online survey over a 2-month period. The survey consisted of 20 multiple choice questions with 2-8 possible responses per question. Results: Of 2651 members contacted by e-mail, 282 (10.6%) responded to the survey questions, including 196 pathologists (69.5%) and 86 cytotechnologists (30.5%). Of these, 265 respondents were from the US/Canada (94.0%), with 156 from academic institutions (58.9%) and 109 from non-academic practices (41.1%); 17 were from other countries (6.0%). In 18.8% of all practices, cytopathologists sign out >90% of small CNBs from endoscopic and radiologically guided procedures; in 36.5% of practices >90% are signed out by surgical pathologists; the remainder have such cases divided more evenly between cytopathologists and surgical pathologists. Responses show that 78.0% of all respondents are interested in signing out more small biopsies in the future, and 80.5% desire increased small biopsy-related resources from the ASC. Conclusions: The survey responses indicate that practices currently vary widely across institutions. Most indicated an interest in greater incorporation of small biopsies into the practice of cytopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-321
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Core needle biopsy
  • Fork-tip needle
  • Franseen needle
  • Subspecialty pathology
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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