About this Research Topic
In the last decade, molecular cytopathology has emerged as a very rapidly evolving field of diagnostic and predictive pathology, with an increasing number of molecular tests performed with a high degree of versatility on a range of cytological preparations from many different body sites. From a clinical standpoint, cytology is a first-line diagnostic procedure in many neoplastic and non-neoplastic settings. In particular, in advanced‐stage cancer patients, cytological samples may be the only material available for both diagnosis and molecular biomarker testing to select patients for targeted therapies. In addition to the predictive response to tumor targeted treatments, molecular profiling of cytological samples is also currently useful in diagnostics to stratify atypical and undetermined cytology classes into low and high- malignancy risk categories.
From a methodological standpoint, the ongoing development of molecular cytopathology is closely related to the high quality of nucleic acids extracted from cytological samples, and to the rapid advances of highly sensitive and multiplexed molecular assays with minimal nucleic acid requirement. Thus, the role of modern cytopathologists includes, in addition to the morphological evaluation, the adequacy assessment of cytological samples for molecular testing and the management of specimens to preserve as much as possible for sample informative integrity.
To this day, cytological samples are still underutilized to select oncological patients for targeted treatments. We argue that a continuous educational effort and a timely update in both clinical and methodological molecular cytopathology aspects are required to better exploit the role of this approach in molecular medicine.
To this end, in this Research Topic we aim to provide an update on novel molecular targets, testing methodologies and further clarify cytological sample requirements and cytopreparation procedure. We also aim to address the diagnostic algorithms and harmonization between cytological and histological evaluations and moreover discuss updates on international molecular testing guidelines. All these issues must be conveyed to the practicing cytopathologist to improve patient management and treatment.
Thus, the ultimate goal of this Research Topic is to provide the cytopathologist with updated educational tools to overcome the under-utilization of cytological samples for targeted treatments. Here, we welcome Original Research, Methods articles, Reviews and Perspective studies covering the following topics:
• Assessment of predictive and prognostic biomarkers on cytological samples
• Assessment of biomarkers for risk-stratification on cytological samples
• Validation of novel technologies on cytological material
• Molecular testing on residual material from cytological preparations
• Evaluation of immunotherapy biomarkers
• Evaluation of agnostic markers
• Pre-analytical variables affecting quality and quantity of cytological material.
Keywords: Cytopathology, Pathology, Molecular Cytopathology, Targeted Treatment, Target Therapy
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.