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.