Report of the 13th annual EFCS tutorial

The 13th annual EFCS tutorial of Cytopathology was held on June 13-17 in Trieste (Italy). The event was chaired by Giovanni Negri and co-chaired by Arrigo Capitanio, local Host was Fabrizio Zanconati of the University of Trieste. After years of difficulties due to the pandemic and the virtualization of the 12th Tutorial in 2021, we decided to resume the classical Tutorial format, based on on-site microscopy workshops and lectures covering the most important topics in cytopathology. The experience of last year’s successful virtual Tutorial was however not forgotten, and we decided to add virtual slides to each topic, which were available in advance to the participants and discussed live at the end of each microscopy workshop, using the platform. Overall, fifty-seven virtual slides were uploaded for the participants. Virtual slides were used also for the on-site discussion of the cases. The new, albeit traditional approach to the tutorial was well received. Fifty-one participants (cytotechnologists, residents and pathologists) coming from 19 different countries (Armenia, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zeeland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine) took part in the courses, joining the friendly and informal atmosphere of the Tutorial, and more would have participated if more microscopes had been available. Nine tutors from Croatia, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain were involved in the lectures, which included eleven different topics among urine, breast, thyroid, pancreatic, serous effusions, salivary gland, lymphnode and gynecological cytology. Lectures on ROSE, molecular and digital cytology as well as HPV have also been included. Social activity was also a highlight, including a welcome party and get-together dinner on the background of the beautiful seaside of Trieste. 

All the lectures were recorded, participants will receive a link giving them the opportunity to look again at the presentations and case discussions. 

The participants’ feedback has been very positive, with most participants judging the event quality as excellent and extremely useful. Organization and programme were judged excellent by 75 and 74% of the participants, respectively. Overall, 98% of the participants would recommend a future tutorial to a colleague, and 93% found the scanned slide useful. The quality of all lectures and workshops was judged as excellent by most participants, particularly appreciated was also the newly introduced look-alikes slide seminar that closed the Tutorial on Friday.

Beside the teaching and social activity, the Tutorial was also a special occasion to reward Luigi di Bonito, who has been Chair of the EFCS Tutorial for five editions and two times president of the European Congress of Cytology, for his contribution in education and promotion of cytology.Prof. Di Bonito was rewarded by the EFCS General Secretary Danijela Vrdoljak Mozetic.

Overall, it was another successful EFCS annual tutorial, in the best tradition of these events.

Giovanni Negri and Arrigo Capitanio

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EFCS QUATE aptitude test 2022 Report

EFCS QUATE aptitude test 2022 Report

On Friday, 17th of June 2022, the QUATE aptitude test (Quality Assurance, Training, and Examinations) took place at the Ospedale Universitario di Cattinara, Trieste, Italy.

The QUATE (Quality Assurance, Training and Examinations committee) Aptitude Test is an international exam organized by the European Federation of Cytological Societies (EFCS) as one of the EFCS educational projects. The QUATE test aims to objectively assess the ability and competence of cytoscreeners and cytotechnologists in cervical cytology screening, either on conventional Papanicolaou, SurePath, or ThinPrep slides. The candidates are expected to have a good understanding of the general principles of a cervical cancer screening programme and cytological findings in cervical cytology. By passing the QUATE test, candidates obtain an EFCS certificate, which confirms their screening competence and contributes to achieving a high standard in cervical cancer screening in their respective cytology laboratories.

The QUATE exam in Trieste was organized by the QUATE Committee on the last day of the EFCS Tutorial, with the support of the local host.

Fifteen candidates attended the exam, 6 from Italy, 3 from Austria, 2 from Israel, 2 from Russia, one from Denmark, and one from Armenia. All of the candidates were focused on the MCQs trying to respond accurately to morphology-based questions. In the practical part of the exam, seven candidates screened ThinPrep slides, four SurePath, and four conventional slides. Apart from obtaining the EFCS certificate, candidates had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and professional experience.

The passing rate was just over 53%, which means that 8 out of 15 candidates passed the exam. Unfortunately, the most common reason for failing the screening test was repeated overcalling of negative slides as abnormal.

The organization was excellent, concerning the communication with candidates, theoretical MCQ part, and microscopy slides.

Our hosts from the Pathology Department of the Ospedale Universitario di Cattinara provided the modern venue with adequate rooms, quality microscopes, facilities, and refreshments.

The organizing committee of QUATE Trieste consisted of Asst Prof Sandra Moslavac, MD, Ph.D.,

Prof Allan Wilson, Lead Biomedical Scientist in Cellular Pathology and Consultant Biomedical Scientist in Cervical Cytology, and Asst Prof Danijela Vrdoljak-Mozetič, MD, Ph.D., Secretary-General of the EFCS.

The next QUATE examination will be offered at the 44th European Congress of Cytology, Budapest, Hungary in October 2023.

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Report of 12th annual EFCS tutorial

Report of 12th annual EFCS tutorial

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 12th annual EFCS Tutorial scheduled on June 7th-11th 2021 in Trieste had to be canceled. Instead, a digital edition was held on June 10th-11th. The event was chaired by Giovanni Negri and co-chaired by Arrigo Capitanio.

This digital edition of the annual tutorial was based on the use of virtual slides which were uploaded on the Eurocytology site and made available in advance to the participants who could study the cases before the live event. Overall, 91 different virtual slides were uploaded for the participants. The live event included short lectures followed by the discussion of the virtual cases, while participants could ask questions in real-time via chat. Overall, one hundred and ten questions and comments were made via chat.

Nine tutors from Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, Norway, France, Croatia, and Finland were involved in the lectures, which included eleven different topics among urine, breast, thyroid, pancreatic, serous effusions, salivary gland, soft tissue and gynecological cytology.
One hundred and twenty-two participants (cytotechnologists, residents, biologists and pathologists) coming from 24 different European and extra-European countries, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Malta, New Zeland, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland took part in the courses. Up to 11000 connections before the live event were recorded by the Eurocytology servers, which did their job flawlessly also during the live sessions.

The participants’ feedback has been highly positive. Ninety-five percent of the participants found the virtual platform easy to use and would recommend a future tutorial to a colleague. One of the most asked features was keeping the slides and lectures online for some time after the event. In fact, slides and lectures have been made available to the participants for three weeks after the tutorial.

Overall, despite the forced virtualization, it was another successful EFCS annual tutorial, in the best tradition of these events. We are already working on the next annual tutorial, scheduled in 2022, and we will try to resume the classic tutorial formulation based on microscopy work. We believe that working together, face-to-face with the tutors, is an excellent opportunity not only to learn cytology, but also to create new professional contacts and friendships between cytologists. However, encouraged by the success of this digital edition, we are already planning further digital events which will allow broader participation and a peek into the future of digital cytology. Stay tuned on the EFCS website!

Giovanni Negri and Arrigo Capitanio

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