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Acta Cytol. 2006 Sep-Oct;50(5):577-80.

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma of the chest wall masquerading as medullary breast carcinoma: a case report.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, India. prashant_sharma@msn.com



Cytologic diagnosis of malignant fibrous histiocytoma can be problematic, as these neoplasms are known to mimic multiple other conditions.


A fine needle aspirate from a 60-year-old woman was diagnosed at 2 institutions as medullary carcinoma of the breast. The patient received neo-adjuvant chemoradiotherapy before the tumor war excised. Gross pathologic examination and histomorphology on routine staining were compatible with the cytologic diagnosis. The accurate diagnosis of pleomorphic-storiform-type malignant fibrous histiocytoma was a surprise and was established with immunocytochemical stains. In retrospect, it was thought that clinical and radiologic overlap, creating a high index of suspicion for a breast neoplasm and compounding the cytologic appearance of a medullary carcinoma with spindle cell metaplasia and syncytial cells, was responsible for the error.


This case highlights a potential cytodiagnostic pitfall and the importance of establishing a definitive tissue diagnosis in the face of equivocal cytologic findings.

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