A Narrative Review of Lung Cancer Cytology in the Times of Coronavirus

What Physicians Should Know

Pasquale Pisapia; Umberto Malapelle; Maria Salatiello; Rafael Rosell; Giancarlo Troncone


Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2020;9(5):2074-2081. 

In This Article


A number of biosafety measures, mainly procedures equivalent to BSL 2 and 3, are necessary to mitigate the not negligible risk of handling cytopathological samples potentially carrying viable and thus transmissible SARS-CoV-2.[14,15,17] Ideally, the needs to inactivate virus and to preserve cyto-preparation quality and morphological details should be balanced.[24] As a general rule, on a preliminary fixation step in concentrated ethanol is key to handle body fluids, diagnostic smears and LBC slides and any effort should be taken to limit aerosols or droplets generation in different steps during FNA and ROSE procedures.[24,30] Besides the clinical relevance, cytological samples are representative of bronchioles and lung alveoli microenvironment and represent a relevant research tool to better understand COVID-19 pathogenesis.[35] This health care emergency also underlines the need to exploit technological advances upgrading molecular pathology laboratory technologies by promoting automation and automatizing the specimen-to-report workflow.[10]