Document Type : Original Research


1 Dept. of Pathology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Dept. of Dermatology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background and Objective: Cutaneous cytology is the study of scraping or smears obtained from skin lesions. Although not commonly employed, cutaneous cytology has been a useful tool for clinicians due to simplified procedures and high sensitivity and specificity of presurgical clinical diagnosis of common types of skin tumors. This investigation was conducted to study usefulness of cutaneous cytology in diagnosis of basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Methods: We collected 42 skin tumors in total, clinically presumed to be either BCC (n = 31) or SCC (n = 10). Samples were taken by the scraping technique. After smearing the cells onto several glass slides, they were fixed with 96% alcohol. The specimens were stained with Papanicolaou stain. Punch biopsies were taken to confirm the clinical and cytologic impression. Results: Cytodiagnosis and histopathologic examination of 42 cases of BCC (n = 32) and SCC (n = 10) showed a significant concordance between histopathology of skin specimen and cytologic diagnosis with a sensitivity rate of 96.8% and specificity rate of 90% and with a high positive predictive value of 96.8%. Conclusion: Cytologic examination is easy to perform, saves time, and provides a rapid and reliable procedure in diagnosis and confirmation of non-melanoma malignant skin tumors (BCC and SCC).