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J Cytol. 2013 Jan;30(1):58-61. doi: 10.4103/0970-9371.107517.

Cytodiagnosis of alveolar soft part sarcoma: Report of two cases with special emphasis on the first orbital lesion diagnosed by aspiration cytology.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India.


Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) is a rare neoplasm of uncertain cell of origin. Known to occur in adolescents and young adults, this tumor usually involves the muscles and deep soft tissues of the extremities and trunk. Orbital localization is rare and not yet subjected to cytological assessment, as per our literature search. We present here two cases of ASPS diagnosed by aspiration cytology, one in the orbit and the other in the lower extremity. The cells displayed abundant clear to finely vacuolated cytoplasm, often with disrupted margins and flowing of the cytoplasmic material; prominent nucleoli and scattered bare nuclei were also seen in the background. Two close cytological differential diagnoses include metastatic renal cell carcinoma and paraganglioma. Intracytoplasmic periodic acid schiff (PAS) positive, diastase-resistant, needle-shaped crystals and corresponding rhomboid crystals with regular lattice pattern on ultrastructure are the hallmarks of this neoplasm. Due to its slowly progressive clinical course and poor outcome, preoperative diagnosis of ASPS through fine-needle aspiration cytology may be essential for deciding therapy, especially in rare and difficult locations like orbit, where adjuvant radiation may not be possible.


Alveolar soft part sarcoma; cytology; orbit

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