Sensitivity of sputum cytology after homogenization with dithiothreitol in lung cancer detection. Two years of experience

Acta Cytol. 1995 Nov-Dec;39(6):1137-40.


Objective: To compare the sensitivity of sputum cytology using the dithiothreitol homogenization method (DTT) with that of the standard pick-and-smear (PS) method in lung cancer detection.

Study design: In a two-year period, 2,428 sputum specimens were examined. Standard PS smears were prepared as controls; the remainder of the specimens were homogenized with DTT before smears were prepared. The sensitivity of the two methods in detecting positive cases was compared.

Results: Among 260 positive cases, the DTT method detected 256, while the PS method detected only 212, representing a difference of 17%. The DTT method also detected 28 more suspicious cases and permitted definitive typing of the tumor in a further 11 cases.

Conclusion: Homogenization of sputum with DTT is not only a simple and versatile method but also a more sensitive method as compared to the PS method in lung cancer detection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Dithiothreitol
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sputum / cytology*


  • Dithiothreitol