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Navone R., Marsico A., Reale I., Pich A., Broccoletti R., Pentenero M., Gandolfo S.
Aim. It is well known that diagnostic oral exfoliative cytology, even if a useful, economical and practical tool in the diagnosis of oral dysplasia and carcinoma, is not yet used so extensively as is cervico-vaginal cytology.
Methods. Exfoliative cytology was used for the diagnosis of oral dysplasia and carcinoma, and the results compared to the histological examination. Cytological smears were taken from 89 patients with oral lesions suspicious for neoplasia (in particular erythro- and leukoplakia and lichen). All patients were also subjected to oral biopsy and histological examination.
Results. Out of 89 cases studied, histology showed the presence of an invasive squamous carcinoma in 32, dysplasia in 17, flogosis in 15 and other types of lesions (2 of which malignant non-epithelial tumours) in 25. The cytological smear was inadequate for diagnosis in 11/89 cases (12.4%). In cytologically adequate and histologically positive cases, cytology confirmed the histological diagnosis of dysplasia and/or carcinoma in 38/45 cases (sensitivity 86.5%, accuracy 89.6%). Moreover, 1 case which was histologically negative at the onset, proved positive at cytology. There were 2 false-positive cytology results (specificity 94.3%, predictive positive value 95.7%).
Conclusion. Despite the small number of cases in the cohort, oral cytology can improve the accuracy of histology, and may be a useful screening tool for the diagnosis of oral neoplasia/dysplasia.