Cytotechnologists as coinvestigators in anatomical pathology research

Karla J. Kopp, Marie R. Passow, Kristina M. Del Rosario, Michael R. Christensen, John W. O’Shaughnessy, Mary K. Bartholet, Mary E. Francis, Thomas J. Flotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The amount of time available to pathologists with which to perform research is becoming limited due to an increasing manpower shortage in pathology, decreased reimbursement, and increased workload. This is occurring at the same time as demands escalate for pathologists to develop new companion tests, correlate the molecular findings with traditional methods, and assist in the development of individualized medicine. This study examined whether cytotechnologists may be integrated into a research team that uses their expertise in understanding pathology and clinical disease to provide interpretations of experiments that traditionally were performed by pathologists. METHODS: Cytotechnologists worked with pathologists to choose blocks for tissue microarrays (TMAs) and to interpret immunohistochemically stained TMA slides. The pathologist met with the cytotechnologist to review the study design. The cytotechnologists reviewed the slides and blocks and chose the most appropriate blocks for the TMA. Either 10% or all of the slides/blocks selected for TMA construction were reviewed by the supervising pathologist. The final selections were given to the TMA technologist to make the TMA. A minimum of 10% of the immunohistochemically stained TMA slides were reviewed by the supervising pathologist. RESULTS: A total of 32 TMAs were created with 6 cytotechnologists collaborating with 6 pathologists. Immunohistochemical stains of 190 TMAs were interpreted by 4 cytotechnologists collaborating with 3 pathologists. All the TMAs and TMA interpretation data were used successfully for the research for which they were designed. CONCLUSIONS: The collaboration of cytotechnologists and pathologists in research can improve the quality of effort and increase satisfaction and productivity. Cancer Cytopathol 2018;126:232-5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-235
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Cytopathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • efficiency
  • job satisfaction
  • quality improvement
  • tissue array analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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