• fine-needle aspiration biopsy;
  • in-situ hybridization;
  • polymerase chain reaction;
  • genomics


The effectiveness of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) for rendering a specific diagnosis can be improved by applying several ancillary modalities. This review details several applications of molecular techniques using FNAB specimens with an emphasis on those used for patient care. A detailed search of the literature was conducted to collect all reports that used FNAB for different types of molecular tests. Several types of molecular tests, including in-situ hybridization, polymerase chain reaction, Southern blotting, and gene microarrays using FNAB specimens have been reported. These tests have been used with different organ systems and different objectives, including the detection of cancer cells, diagnosis, distinction of benign and malignant disease, prediction of response to chemotherapy, risk assessment, and selection of patients for targeted therapy. Except for a few tests such as assessment of HER2/neu for gene amplification in breast cancer, detection of clonality in hematopoietic neoplasms, and specific chromosomal translocations in the former and in the diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma, most of the molecular tests using FNAB specimens are currently investigational. The reported literature indicates the excellent potential of using material procured from FNAB for almost any type of molecular test. Whereas few of these tests alone are used for patient care, some of them have the potential for clinical use in the near future. Cancer (Cancer Cytopathol) 2007. © 2007 American Cancer Society.