Sampling, sampling errors and specimen preparation

U. Baandrup, J. W. Bishop, T. A. Bonfiglio, M. Branca, M. L. Hutchinson, C. R. Laverty, J. Ahmad, L. T. Illescas, J. H. Obwegeser, J. Patnick, A. Pogacnik, D. L. Rosenthal, H. Z. Suprun, A. Verhest, R. M. Richart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To obtain an adequate cervical smear for making a correct cytologic diagnosis, smear taking, laboratory handling and interpretation must be optimal. Many people are involved, and only by a combined effort of all links can this target be seriously approached: the smear takers will have to be open minded about technical improvements and read the morphologic descriptions cautiously; in the laboratory, cytotechnicians and physicians will have to challenge themselves and each other. It is mandatory to discard specimens that do not meet general standards of adequacy. At present a host of new techniques are being implemented. It is not feasible for all laboratories to be engaged in testing these new methods, but we are all requested to follow the development the best we can and switch to new ways when justified. Our working conditions are very different; therefore, it is our professional responsibility and plight to respond at the right time. So far the conclusion is that the conventional Pap smear is the international standard of care for the diagnosis of cervical cancer precursers in cancer screening programs. Certainly, this may change within a very short time. Liquid-based techniques, and in particular HPV technologies, are just around the corner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-948
Number of pages5
JournalActa cytologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical smears
  • Cervix neoplasms
  • Sampling
  • Specimen preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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