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As one of the premier cytopathology laboratories in the country, The John K. Frost Cytopathology Laboratory plays a prominent role in the rapid, accurate diagnosis of the early stages of lesions and infections and monitors recurrences.

Requests are welcomed from physicians seeking diagnoses, second opinions or more advanced services than they can provide, and from patients who self-refer for a rapid diagnosis or a second opinion. In addition to reviewing submitted slides and samples, our faculty pathologists can also extract cellular samples from patients who come to our lab.
Hours of Operation: Normal lab hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

After hours or weekends: Pathology Resident 410-955-5020.
Fine Needle Aspiration 8:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. weekdays
FNA by the pathologist and on-site evaluation (call to schedule)

Telephone: 410-955-3520 / Fax 410-955-3438
Staff Pathologists: 410-955-1180 / Fax 410-614-9556
Operations Supervisor: Virginia Cruise
Technical Operations Supervisor: Karen M. Plowden FB(ASCP) (IAC)
Johns Hopkins Medical Laboratories
Cytopathology Laboratory
412 Pathology Building
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, Maryland 21287-6940
Phone: 410-955-3520
Fax: 410- 955-3438
Visit our web site:

The Johns Hopkins Cytopathology Laboratory was one of the first cytopathology laboratories in the United States, established in 1956 by Dr. John K. Frost, a pioneer in the field. We have long experience serving practitioners throughout the United States, solving diagnostic dilemmas and providing second opinions. Gill's Hematoxylin, a widely used formula for staining the nuclei of cells for both cytopathology and histopathology specimens, was developed in the Hopkins Cytopathology Laboratory in the 1970s. Many other laboratory techniques developed here are described in literature accompanying various products and equipment, and in training films of the American Society of Cytology and The American Cancer Society. Today, the laboratory is directed by Douglas Clark, M.D.

Expert consultation
Faculty who direct the laboratory are recognized experts in gynecologic, urologic, pulmonary and gastrointestinal cytopathology, AIDS, and infectious disease pathology -- among other areas.

The majority of our cytotechnologists who prepare specimens and review slides have at least 20 years experience in the field. This is an important advantage in an area that relies so much on practiced judgment.
Special capabilities and services
Using a procedure developed at Hopkins and offered by few other labs, we can expand a single sample onto multiple different slides. Cell transfer technique enables us to get far more information from small samples, restore broken slides and create additional slides from a single slide for immunostaining techniques and for rare cases.

Fine needle aspiration of superficial lesions performed by an experienced cytopathologist offers the advantage of ensuring adequate specimen. Diagnoses may, in some cases, be made immediately and appropriate patient management begun. Special studies such as cultures, flow cytometry and special stains, may be requested at the time of aspiration to avoid waiting until the specimen is sent to the laboratory for review. Sites lending themselves to this procedure are breast, lymph nodes, salivary gland, soft tissue lesions and thyroid gland.

We often work with Hopkins radiologists gastroenterologists and pulmonologists who obtain ultrasound or CT guided fine needle aspirations of introthoracic or intraabdominal lesions, by providing on-site evaluation to evaluate specimen adequacy. Fine needle aspirations of deep organs, a minimally invasive outpatient procedure is, of course, less traumatic and less costly than exploratory surgery. Moreover, diagnosis can often be made on the spot so that appropriate patient management can begin immediately. Organs commonly aspirated:
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Intra-abdominal/pelvic masses
  • Retroperitoneal lymph nodes
  • Kidney
  • Adrenal glands
  • Lung
  • Mediastinal lymph nodes/masses

  • Timely Results
    When one of our pathologists obtains specimens from a patient, preliminary results can often be provided immediately. When we review submitted samples and slides, a written report and telephone consult can usually be provided within one or two days. Turnaround time for Pap Smears and other routine tests averages three days.

    Faculty (5)

    Douglas P. Clark, M.D.
    phone: (410)614-4903
    • Director of Cytopathology
    • Professor of Pathology and Oncology
    Education and Training
    • M.D., The Johns Hopkins University
    • Anatomic Pathology Residency, Cytopathology Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania
    Professional Interests
    Molecular cytopathology

    Yener S. Erozan, M.D.
    phone: (410)955-1180
    • Professor of Pathology
    Education and Training
    • M.D., University of Istanbul, School of Medicine
    Professional Interests
    Pulmonary and gastrointestinal cytopathology

    Major Professional Leadership
    • President, American Society of Cytopathology (1985-86)
    • Secretary-Treasurer, American Society of Cytopathology (1990-1996)
    • Chairman, Council on Cytopathology, American Society of Clinical Pathologists (1984-86)
    • Co-chairman, Cytopathology Proficiency Task Force, Laboratories Administration, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, State of Maryland
    • Associate Editor, Acta Cytologica
    • Editor, Cytopathology Division, American Society of Clinical Pathologists (1987-91)

    Brigitte Ronnett, M.D.
    phone: (410)614-2971
    • Professor of Pathology
    Education and Training
    • M.D., University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
    • Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Residency, Gynecologic Pathology Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    Professional Interests
    Gynecologic pathology

    Syed Ali, M.D.
    phone: (410)955-3520 / fax: (410)614-9556
    • Associate Professor of Pathology and Radiology
    • Associate Director, Division of Cytopathology
    • Director, Cytopathology Fellowship Program
    Education and Training
    • MBBS., Rawalpindi Medical College, University of Punjab, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
    • Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology Residency NorthShore University Hospital-Cornell University Medical College Manhasset, New York
    • Oncologic Surgical Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Fellowship New York, New York
    • Cytopathology Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD
    Professional Interests
    Pancreas, Salivary Glands and Thyroid fine needle aspiration
    Serous Cavity Effusion cytopathology


    To order, call the Consult office at
    between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., E.S.T.
    Cytopathology welcomes a full range of specimens from many body sites to diagnose malignancy, precursors of malignancy, infections, organisms and special studies.
    Gynecologic Specimens
    Liquid based or conventional smears are used to diagnose:
    - malignancy
    - pre-malignant conditions (dysplasia; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, including human papillomavirus-associated changes)
    - reactive or reparative changes
    - atypical squamous or glandular cells of undetermined significance
    - certain organisms and infectious processes
    Respiratory specimens
    In addition to malignancy, use of special stains on sputum and brochoscopy specimens is used to diagnose:
    - Pneumocystis jerovaci (pneumocystis carinii) and other opportunitistic infections common in AIDS and immunosuppressed patients
    - lipid pneumonia, often seen in children
    - pulmonary siderosis
    Cerebrospinal Fluid Specimens
    Conventional cytopathology in conjunction with flow cytometry and other immunological techniques results in more accurate diagnosis and classification of leukemias and lymphomas in cerebrospinal fluids: Cryptococcus (using special staining techniques); metastatic tumors to the central nervous system.

    Urine specimens
    Used to diagnose:
    - non-neoplastic causes of hematuria, including viral infections
    - neoplasms of bladder and kidney
    Body cavity fluids specimens
    Using a battery of special stains and immunologic techniques, including flow cytometry, to diagnose:
    - primary and metastatic neoplasms
    Gastric, Esophageal, Colon Specimens
    Using a collection of alimentary material in a preservative solution to diagnose:
    - esophageal candidiasis
    - Barrett's Esophagus
    - malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract

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    Last Modified: October 10, 2006