Skip to Content
Sara Monaco MD
  • Sara Monaco, MD

    Associate Professor of Pathology

Sara Monaco, MD

Associate Professor of Pathology


Dr. Monaco is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at UPMC. She is also the Director of the FNA Clinic at UPMC-Shadyside Hospital and the Director of the FNA Biopsy Service at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In addition, she is the Cytopathology Fellowship Director at UPMC.

Office Location:
UPMC Shadyside Hospital
5150 Centre Avenue
POB2, Suite 201
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Contact Information:
Office Phone: (412) 623-3745
Fax: (412) 682-4779


  • BS - Cornell University, 1999
  • MD - Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, 2003

Research Interests

Dr. Monaco's interests include fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy diagnosis, cytology-histology correlations, and the application of ancillary studies and molecular diagnostics in cytopathology. Most of Dr. Monaco's focus has been in non-gynecological cytopathology, including thoracic and lymph node cytopathology. She recently has published data on the use of endobronchial ultrasound-guided FNA in a large academic medical center, correlating the cytological findings with follow-up surgical pathology. Dr. Monaco is also the director of the FNA biopsy service at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and has been conducting research in non-gynecological cytopathology in young patients, espcially head and neck lesions in children. She is also interested in breast/gynecologic surgical pathology and cytology.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Monaco's publications on PubMed


  1. Huyett P, Monaco SE, Choi S, Simons J. Utility of Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy in the Evaluation of Pediatric Head and Neck Masses. Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery 2016;154:928-35.
  2. McDermott S, Pantanowitz L, Nikiforova M, Monaco SE. Quantitative Assessment of Cell Block Cellularity and Correlation with Molecular Testing Adequacy in Lung Cancer. Journal of the American Society of Cytopathology (JASC) 2016 [in press]
  3. Dwyer JB, Pantanowitz L, Ohori NP, Pai RK, Vrbin C, Brand RE, Monaco SE. EUS-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration and Procore Biopsy in Sampling Pancreatic and Intra-abdominal Masses. Cancer Cytopathol 2016;124(2):110-21.
  4. Rhoads DD, Habib-Bein NF, RS Hariri, Hartman DJ, Monaco SE, Lesniak A, Duboy J, Salama ME, Pantanowitz L. Comparison of the Diagnostic Utility of Digital Pathology Systems for Telemicrobiology. Journal of Pathology Informatics 2016;7:10.
  5. Xing J, Radkay L, Monaco SE, Roth CG, Pantanowitz L. Cerebrospinal Fluid Cytology of Lyme Neuroborreliosis: A report of three cases with Literature Review. Acta Cytologica 2015;2015;59:339-44.
  6. Picarsic J, Buryk MA, Ozolek JA, Ranganathan S, Monaco SE, Simons JP, Wtichel S, Gurtunca N, Joyce J, Zhong S, Nikiforova MN, Nikiforov Y. Molecular characterization of sporadic pediatric thyroid carcinoma with the DNA/RNA THyroSeq v2 next-generation sequencing assay. Pediatr Dev Pathol 2016;19:115-22.
  7. Nason KS, Kirchner A, Schuchert MJ, Luketich JD, Christie NA, Pantanowitz L, Karunamurthy A, Monaco SE. EBUS-TBNA for Lymphoma in patients with low suspicion for lung cancer and mediastinal lymphadenopathy. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2016:101:1856-63.
  8. Monaco SE, Rodriguez EF, Luvison A, Dacic S. FGFR1 amplification in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung with correlation of primary and metastatic tumor status. Am Journal of Clin Pathol 2016;145:55-61.
  9. Rodriguez EF, Dacic S, Pantanowitz L, Khalbuss WE, Monaco SE. Cytopathology of Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma with a single histological pattern using the proposed International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (IASLC/ATS/ERS) Classification. Cancer Cytopathology 2015;123:306-17.
  10. Monaco SE, Pantanowitz L. Telecytology value and validation: developing a validation and competency tool for telecytology. Diagn Cytopathol 2015;43:1-2.
  11. Buryk M, Picarsic J, Ozolek J, Monaco S, Nikiforov YE, Simons JP, Gurtunca N, Joyce J, Mehta D, Witchel S. Can malignant thyroid nodules be distinguished from benign thyroid nodules in children and adolescents by clinical characteristics? A review of 89 pediatric patients with thyroid nodules. Thyroid 2015;25:392-400.
  12. Buryk M, Simons JP, Shaw P, Deutsch M, Picarsic J, Monaco S, Nikiforov YE, Witchel S. Identification of unique heterozygous germline mutation, STK11 (p.F354L) in a child with encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma within 6 months of completing treatment for neuroblastoma. Pediatric & Developmental Pathology 2015;18:318-23.
  13. Dwyer JB, Pantanowitz L, Monaco SE. Pancreatic Sampling by Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration and Needle Biopsy from the Cytopathology Perspective. Pathology Case Reviews (solicited/invited review article), 2015. 20(4):147-155.
  14. Monaco SE, Teot LA. Cytopathology of Pediatric Malignancies: Where are we today with fine needle aspiration biopsies in pediatric oncology? Cancer Cytopathology 2014;122:322-36.
  15. Li Z, Dacic S, Khalbuss WE, Pantanowitz L, Nikiforova M, Monaco SE. Correlation of Cytomorphology and Molecular Findings in EGFR, KRAS, and ALK-Positive Lung Carcinomas. Am Journal of Clin Path 2014;141:420-8.
  16. Karunamurthy A, Cai G, Dacic S, Khalbuss WE, Pantanowitz L, Monaco SE. Evaluation of Endobronchial Ultrasound-guided Fine Needle Aspirations (EBUS-FNA): Correlation with Adequacy and Histological Follow-up. Cancer Cytopathology 2014;122:23-32.
  17. Monaco SE, Dabbs DJ. Review: Metastatic Tumors of Unknown Origin: Ancillary Testing in Cytological Specimens. 2014.
  18. Silowash R, Monaco SE, Pantanowitz L. Ancillary techniques on direct-smear aspirate slides:A significant evolution for cytopathology techniques. Letter to the Editor. Cancer Cytopathology 2013;121:670.
  19. Pantanowitz L, Navina S, Monaco SE. The Merkel Cell Carcinoma Challenge: A review from the fine needle aspiration service. Letter to the Editor. Cancer Cytopathology 2013;121:671.
  20. Smith M, Pantanowitz L. Khalbuss WE, Benkovich VA, Monaco SE. Indeterminate Pediatric Thyroid Fine Needle Aspirations: A Study of 68 Cases. Acta Cytologica 2013;57:341-348.
  21. Rodriguez EF, Monaco SE, Dacic S. Cytological subtyping of lung adenocarcinoma using the proposed International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (IASLC/ATS/ERS) Adenocarcinoma Classification. Cancer Cytopathology 2013;121:629-37.
  22. Monaco SE. Cytopathology of Lung Cancer: Moving from Morphology to Molecular (review article). Diagn Histopathol 2012;18(8):313-320.
  23. Monaco SE, Pantanowitz L, Khalbuss WE, Benkovich VA, Ozolek J, Nikiforova MN, Simons J, Nikiforov. Cytomorphological and Molecular Genetic Findings in Pediatric Thyroid Fine Needle Aspirations. Cancer Cytopathology 2012; 120:342-50.
  24. Monaco SE, Pantanowitz L, Khalbuss WE. Letter to the Editor: Comparing endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration specimens with and without rapid on-site evaluation. Cytojournal 2012;9:2.
  25. Monaco SE, Khalbuss WE, Pantanowitz L. Benign Non-infectious Causes of Lymphadenopathy: A review of cytomorphology and differential diagnosis. Diagnostic Cytopathology 2012;40:925-38.
  26. Monaco SE, Khalbuss WE, Ustinova E, Liang A, Cai G. The Cytomorphologic Spectrum of Salivary Gland Type Tumors in the Lung and Mediastinum: A Report of 22 Cases. Diagnostic Cytopathology 2012;40:1062-70.
  27. Gilbert C, Monaco SE, Cooper S, Khalbuss WE. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of pancreatic metastases: a retrospective look at 25 cases. Cytojournal 2011;8:7.
  28. Lang T, Khalbuss WE, Monaco SE, Michelow P, Pantanowitz L. Review of HIV-Related Cytopathology. Pathology Research International 2011 April; 256083.
  29. *Gao FF, Khalbuss WE, Austin RM, Monaco SE. Fine Needle Aspiration Findings of Crystal Storing Histiocytosis in the Breast Associated with Lymphoma. Acta Cytologica 2011;55:302-306.
  30. Stamm JA, Nguyen MH, Monaco SE, Toyoda Y, Boujoukos AJ. A 62 year-old male heart transplant recipient with progressive hypoxia. Chest 2011;139:954-957.
  31. Lang TU, Khalbuss WE, Monaco SE, Pantanowitz L. Solitary Tracheobronchial Papilloma: Cytomorphology and ancillary studies with histologic correlation. Cytojournal 2011;8:6.
  32. Monaco SE, Shuai Y, Bansal M, Krasinskas AM, Dacic S. The diagnostic utility of P16 FISH and GLUT1 immunohistochemistry in mesothelial proliferations. Am J Clin Pathol 2011;135:619-627.
  33. Monaco SE, Schuchert MJ, Khalbuss WE. Diagnostic Difficulties and Pitfalls in Rapid On-site Evaluation of Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) Guided Fine Needle Aspiration. Cytojournal 2010;7:9.
  34. Monaco SE, Teot LA, Felgar R, Surti U, Cai G. Fluorescence In-situ Hybridization (FISH) Studies on Direct Smears: An Approach to Enhance the Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy Diagnosis of B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas. Cancer Cytopathology 2009 Oct 25;117(5):338-48.