The International System for Serous Fluid Cytopathology is a cytologic classification which purpose is to establish a consensus on diagnostic terminology. Five diagnostic categories are proposed associated to an increased rate of malignancy and specific cytological criteria. The categories are reported as: (I) Non-diagnostic (ND), the cells are insufficient for interpretation; (II) Negative for malignancy (NFM), only benign cells are present; (III) Atypia of undetermined significance (AUS), the cells present mild atypia more likely to be benign, but a malignant process cannot be definitively excluded; (IV) Suspicious for malignancy (SFM), the cells are present with atypia or in a number suspect of malignancy but with insufficient ancillary studies to give a positive malignant diagnosis; (V) Malignant (MAL), the cytological criteria are absolutely and definitively malignant. Malignant neoplasia can be primitive, it involves mesothelioma and serous lymphoma but most are secondary and correspond mainly to adenocarcinomas in adults and leukemia/lymphoma in children. The diagnostic should always be provided in the appropriate clinical context and be as definitive as possible. The ND, AUS and SFM are temporary or last intention categories. Immunocytochemistry in association with FISH or flow cytometry allow in most cases a conclusive diagnosis. These ancillary studies as well as ADN and ARN tests on effusion’s fluids are particularly suited to give reliable theranostic results for personalized therapies.
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