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Diagn Cytopathol. 2006 Sep;34(9):597-604.

Fine-needle aspiration of soft tissue leiomyosarcoma: an analysis of the most common cytologic findings and the value of ancillary techniques.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Cytology, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


This study aims to determine the diagnostic accuracy of fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of primary leiomyosarcoma (LMS) of soft tissue and to review diagnostic criteria and adjunctive methods, which can contribute to a confident diagnosis. We evaluated the preoperative FNAC in 89 patients with primary LMS for the following: cytomorphology and correspondence of FNA to histological features of excised tumors and clinical data. In addition, the utility of adjunctive techniques was analyzed and other spindle-cell lesions in the differential diagnoses were discussed. An unequivocal, malignant diagnosis was rendered by FNAC in 78 cases; 74 tumors were diagnosed as sarcoma, of which 31 as LMS or suspicion of LMS. In addition, three smears were labeled as malignant tumor, one as carcinoma metastasis, and three as neurilemmoma. Seven aspirates were inconclusive and one insufficient. On reevaluation, the diagnostic smears in most cases contained tumor cell fascicles with an admixture of dispersed cells or stripped nuclei. The most common cells were spindle cells with elongated, blunt-ended, segmented or fusiform nuclei, and round/polygonal cells, often with rounded or indented nuclei. In addition, 51 cases showed pleomorphic, often multinucleated cells. Osteoclasts, intranuclear vacuoles, and mitoses occurred in 14, 47, and 27 cases, respectively. Thus, most high-grade LMSs have cytologic features that allow diagnosis of sarcoma. Ancillary studies can confirm the diagnosis of LMS and help in the correct interpretation of predominant spindle-cell or epitheloid-cell smears resembling neurilemoma or carcinoma, respectively.

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