The introduction of molecular testing into cytopathology laboratory practice has expanded the types of samples considered feasible for identifying genetic alterations that play an essential role in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), a sensitive and specific technical approach for amplifying a defined segment of RNA after it has been reverse-transcribed into its DNA complement, is commonly used in clinical practice for the identification of recurrent or tumor-specific fusion gene events. Real-time RT-PCR (quantitative RT-PCR), a technical variation, also permits the quantitation of products generated during each cycle of the polymerase chain reaction process. This review addresses qualitative and quantitative pre-analytic and analytic considerations of RT-PCR as they relate to various cytologic specimens. An understanding of these aspects of genetic testing is central to attaining optimal results in the face of the challenges that cytology specimens may present. Cancer Cytopathol 2017;125:11-19.
- fusion gene
- reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research