Adequacy of cytology and small biopsy samples obtained with rapid onsite evaluation (ROSE) for predictive biomarker testing in non-small cell lung cancer

Shona Hendry, Louis Mamotte, Nima Mesbah Ardakani, Connull Leslie, Yordanos Tesfai, Fabienne Grieu-Iacopetta, Katherine Izaac, Shalinder Singh, Rasha Ardakani, Marc Thomas, Tindaro Giardina, Cleo Robinson, Felicity Frost, Benhur Amanuel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Complete biomarker workup of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) specimens is essential for appropriate and timely clinical management decisions. This can be challenging to achieve from small cytology and histology specimens, with increasing numbers of molecular and immunohistochemical biomarkers required. We conducted a 5 year retrospective audit of cases at our institution to assess the diagnostic and biomarker testing adequacy rates, particularly those specimens obtained with rapid onsite evaluation (ROSE), performed by a cytopathologist and a cytology scientist or pathology trainee, including all endobronchial ultrasound guided transbronchial needle aspirations (EBUS-TBNA), CT guided lung fine needle aspirations (FNA) and CT guided lung core biopsies. A total of 5,354 cases were identified, of which 92.2% had sufficient material for diagnosis. Of the 1506 cases identified with a recorded diagnosis of lung adenocarcinoma or NSCLC, not otherwise specified, 1001 (66.5%) had biomarker testing requested. Sufficient material was available in 89.5% of cases for a complete biomarker workup which included EGFR and KRAS mutational testing (all cases), ALK, ROS1 and PD-L1 immunohistochemistry (all cases), and ALK and ROS1 FISH (as required). For EGFR and KRAS mutational testing across both cytology and histology specimens, 99% of cases were sufficient. Of the samples in which a complete biomarker workup was unable to be performed, approximately half were only insufficient due to inadequate numbers of tumour cells for PD-L1 immunohistochemistry. Excluding PD-L1 IHC, 952 (95.1%) of samples obtained with ROSE were sufficient for the remainder of the testing requirements. Next generation sequencing using a 33 gene custom AmpliSeq panel was achieved in up to 72% of cases. In conclusion, small cytology and histology specimens obtained with ROSE are suitable for predictive biomarker testing in NSCLC, although attention needs to be paid to obtaining sufficient cells (>100) for PD-L1 immunohistochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-921
Number of pages5
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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