Cytological Training at European Standard through Telepathology
Areas / Research groups
Cy-TEST focuses on the area of Cytology, intended for the screening and diagnoses of Cancers of
different organs. Cytological tests are performed in number of millions/year in Europe, with an
objective need of standardizing quality levels. The necessary training of the professionals involved
(Cytotechs, Cytoscreeners, Biologists, Pathologists) in the different European nations is based on
Courses and Masters at University level, which employ texts, fixed images of reference patterns
and sessions at microscopes, in order to guarantee a reproducible recognition of structural
features typical of malignant/cancer cells.
Diplomas of Competence in Cytology are released by single European Nations, but a single
European Accreditation Test, certifying a diagnostic ability at a standardized level would no doubt
be the preferred option. In order to meet these requirement, the European Federation of
Cytological Societies (EFCS) established QUATE (Quality Assurance, Training and Examination)
Aptitude Test but the complexity of its organization make this test practiced by a relatively low
number of applicants (approximately 50 in year 2013).
The Cy-TEST System aims both at delivering a training course accomplishing the needed criteria
to successfully afford the QUATE test and at generating the e-QUATE, the electronic version of the
QUATE test, thus reaching a more popular, cheaper and efficient impact.
The Cy-TEST Project is based on the exploitation of the Virtual Slide (VS) technology permitting a
telematic transfer and navigation of scanned images of reference cytological slides. Images are
stored at very high resolutions and can be viewed via Internet with proper Virtual Microscope
software (eg Zoomify). These images can be used -with specific tools-to realize highly interactive
self assessment exercises that will improve the competence of cytotechnologists. For example
exercises will show details of cells in an image, or ask to search for particular "clues" that can lead
to diagnoses. These training cases will be accessible through the Cy-TEST system, an open
access (with free registration) e-learning platform developed upon the existing open source system
The Cy-TEST idea derives from the experience gained by the conduction of the very successful
EU-funded TASTE project on the Telepathological Assessment of Histological and Cytological
preparations, while its validation will be in the responsibility of the EFCS comprehensive of 28
National Societies and with thousands of Members.
Both the coordinators of the EU funded projects TASTE and EUROCITOLOGY are partners of this
proposal, thus ensuring a synergy that will allow reusability of already obtained results.
The participants to the Project are accordingly leaders in the fields of Cytology and Pathology (the
Secretary and the Treasurer of EFCS, the past President of the European Society of Pathology,
the leaders of the Eurocytology and of the TASTE Projects), thus ensuring a high quality level of
training and an a wide exploitation.
The Cy-TEST consortium is composed of 6 organizations (4 universities, and 2 no profit
institutions) all strictly directly active or connected to the cytology world and with a strong
commitment for delivering higher education enhancing cytologists quality levels.
This System, which will be an integral part of EFCS activities so as to guarantee its sustainability,
represents a move towards a technically-based improvement of quality level assurance, which is
what European patients request.
Results and publications
Results and documents Fassina A, Cappellesso R, Tötsch M, Barroca H, Marchiò C, Dina R, Ovcin E, Bussolati G. Cancer. 2017 Sep;125(9):669-673. doi: 10.1002/cncy.21895. Epub 2017 Jul 31. Next-generation learning and training: The Cy-TEST experience. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncy.21895/abstract;jsessionid=B3E80899D006DD5C0364AF48 57E24562.f03t01
Marchio C, Barroca H, Dina R, Ovcin E, Toetsch M, Fassina A, Bussolati G. Cy-TEST - A new platform for training and testing in cytopathology- Poster session - The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) Annual Meeting 12-18 March 2016 - Seattle Washington - abstract 556 https://www.nature.com/modpathol/journal/v29/n2s/pdf/modpathol20167a.pdf?foxtrotcallback=true