Cytopathology pp 453-466 | Cite as

Skin Cytology

  • Michael T. Sheaff
  • Naveena Singh


Cytology is used effectively in many units worldwide but is not considered mainstream cytological practice. One significant advantage of skin cytology over biopsy is the rapidity with which an accurate diagnosis can be made and treatment given immediately, avoiding a return visit for the patient. The main diagnoses are basal cell carcinoma and its mimics, but many skin conditions can be recognised on skin scrape. These are described in detail in this chapter.


Basal Cell Carcinoma Small Cell Carcinoma Pleomorphic Adenoma Merkel Cell Carcinoma Actinic Keratosis 
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Useful Resources and Suggested Reading

  1. Bakis S, Irwig L, Wood G, Wong D. Exfoliative cytology as a diagnostic test for basal cell carcinoma: a meta-analysis. Br J Dermatol. 2004;150:829–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown CL, Klaber MR, Robertson MG. Rapid cytological diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma of the skin. J Clin Pathol. 1979;32(4):361–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chandra A, Cross P, Denton K, Giles T, Hemming D, Payne C, Wilson A, Wilson P. The BSSC code of practice – exfoliative cytopathology (excluding gynaecological cytology). Cytopathology. 2009;20:211–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Tzanck A. Le cytodiagnostic immediate en dermatology. Ann de dermat et syph. 1947;7:68.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael T. Sheaff
    • 1
  • Naveena Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cellular PathologyBarts Health NHS TrustLondonUK

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