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Diagn Cytopathol. 2005 Sep;33(3):195-200.

Cytological features of lipoblastoma: a report of three cases.

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  • 1Department of Cytopathology, Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Lipoblastoma is a rare benign neoplasm occurring mostly in children under the age of three. Accurate preoperative diagnosis is mandatory for planning the treatment. The main aim of this study is to establish the cytological features of lipoblastoma and to answer the question: "Is cytological diagnosis of lipoblastoma reliable?"Preoperative fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) and tissue sections of three children treated for lipoblastoma at the Division of Pediatrics, University Medical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the period from 1997 to 2004 were reexamined. The Giemsa- and Papanicolaou-stained FNAB smears were moderately or poorly cellular and contained lipocytes, lipoblasts, and spindle cells in various proportions. The tumor cells were in clusters and tissue fragments or as single cells. Thin branching capillaries were observed in most of the clusters and tissue fragments. In the background, abundant myxoid extracellular material and naked oval nuclei were present. In the first case, the cytological diagnosis was benign soft-tissue tumor, in the second the diagnosis was not conclusive and the last case was correctly diagnosed as lipoblastoma. In the differential diagnosis of the second case, both lipoblastoma and liposarcoma were considered cytologically as well as histologically. At 7-yr follow-up, there is no evidence of the disease.Thus, we conclude that lipoblastoma with typical cytological features could be accurately diagnosed by FNAB. However, tumors containing numerous lipoblasts could pose a diagnostic problem.

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