I thought this review article on Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytology Is an Alternative Source of High Quality Archival Samples in Biobanking, written by Sani Abubakar Malami (© 2011), published in the ISRN Pathology was an interesting discussion. Those of us in the field of cytopathology are facing a challenge with respect to the reshaping of our field. This article describes potential uses of FNAC in biobanking, which currently hasn't been utilized in any established fashion. The author concludes that in order "[t]o accomplish the current requirements of the scientific community, archival FNAC tissue banks, like all other biobanks, need to address some essential challenges that include management strategies, consensus on standard operating procedures, appropriate design, harmonized and unique policies of utilization, and sustainability, all of them within the framework of the appropriate ethical, legal, and social considerations ." Malami further suggests that "[m]ore research would be needed...to determine the impact of FNAC [bio]banking on the practice of cytopathology and ways of improving specimen processing." As the advances in molecular testing continue at an ever increasing pace, cytopathologist (and pathologist) will need to keep pace. The author calls for the development of "...guidelines or recommendations...on quality control and how pathologists and institutions could integrate and support this activity."
Obviously, our professional organizations, CAP, ASCP, and ASC, as well as the NCI, will be (and have been) instrumental in this. In 2010, the CAP hosted a personalized webinar series on "Considerations in Setting Up A Biorepository", (view it here) presented by Raj C. Dash, MD and James A. Robb, MD. The best example of enhanced guidelines that comes to mind are the CAP/ASCO ER/PgR Guideline recommendations and HER-2 guidelines. There are two CAP committees, Diagnostic Intelligence and Health Information Technology (DIHIT) and Personalized Health Care (PHC), collaborating on CAP's future role in biobanking and the risks and benefits. This topic is also scheduled to be discussed on July 24, 2012, "Biospecimens and Biorepositories for the Community Pathologist."