Detection of mutational alterations is important for guiding treatment decisions of lung non-small cell carcinomas and thyroid nodules with atypical cytologic findings. Inoperable lung tumors requiring further testing for staging and thyroid lesions often are diagnosed using only cytology material. Molecular diagnostic tests of these samples typically are performed on cell blocks; however, insufficient cellularity of cell blocks is a limitation for test performance. In addition, some of the fixatives used while preparing cell blocks often introduces artifacts for mutation detection. Here, we applied qClamp xenonucleic technology and quantitative RT-PCR to cells micro-dissected directly from stained cytology smears to detect common alterations including mutations and translocations in non-small cell carcinomas and thyroid lesions. By using this approach, we achieved a 1% molecular alteration detection rate from as few as 50 cells. Ultrasensitive methods of molecular alteration detection similar to the one described here will be increasingly important for the evaluation of molecular alterations in clinical scenarios when only small tissue samples are available.