Introduction: Liquid-based cytology (LBC) is increasingly used for nongynecologic applications. However, the cytological preparation of LBC specimens is influenced by the processing technique and the preservative used. In this study, the influence of the processing techniques and preservatives on cell morphology was examined mathematically and statistically. Methods: Cytological specimens were prepared using the ThinPrep (TP), SurePath (SP), and AutoSmear methods, with 5 different preservative solutions. The cytoplasmic and nuclear areas of Papanicolaou-stained specimens were measured for all samples. Results: The cytoplasmic and nuclear areas were smaller in cells prepared using the 2 LBC methods, compared to that prepared using the AutoSmear method, irrespective of the preservative used. The cytoplasmic and nuclear areas of cells prepared using the SP method were smaller than those of cells prepared using the TP method, irrespective of the preservative used. There were fewer differences among the cytoplasmic areas of cells prepared with different preservative solutions using the TP method; however, the cytoplasmic areas of cells prepared using the SP method changed with the preservative solution used. Conclusions: The most significant difference affecting the cytoplasmic and nuclear areas was the processing technique. The TP method increased the cytoplasmic and nuclear areas, while the methanol-based PreservCyt solution enabled the highest enlargement of the cell. LBC is a superior preparation technique for standardization of the specimens. Our results offer a better understanding of methods suitable for specimen preparation for developing precision AI-based diagnosis in cytology.

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