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Cytojournal. 2011;8:13. doi: 10.4103/1742-6413.83026. Epub 2011 Jul 16.

A review of uncommon cytopathologic diagnoses of pleural effusions from a chest diseases center in Turkey.

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Department of Pathology, Ankara Ataturk Chest Diseases and Chest Surgery Education and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.



After pneumonia, cancer involving the pleura is the leading cause of exudative pleural effusion. Cytologic examination of pleural effusions is an important initial step in management of malignant effusions. The aim of this study is to evaluate the spectrum of uncommon malignant pleural effusions in a chest disease center in Turkey.


A retrospective study of samples of pleural effusions submitted to Ataturk Chest Diseases and Chest Surgery Education and Research Hospital Department of Pathology between March 2005 and November 2008 was performed.


Out of a total of 4684 samples reviewed 364 (7.8%) were positive for cancer cells. Of the malignant pleural effusions 295 (81%) were classified as adenocarcinoma or carcinoma not otherwise specified (NOS). Pleural effusion specimens revealing a diagnosis other than adenocarcinoma/carcinoma NOS were: 32 (8.8%) malignant mesotheliomas, 14 (3.8%) small cell carcinomas, 13 (3.5%) hematolymphoid malignancies and 10 (2.7%) squamous cell carcinoma. Hematolymphoid malignancies included non- Hodgkin lymphoma (diffuse B large cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma), multiple myeloma, chronic myeloid leukemia, and acute myeloid leukemia.


Despite that adenocarcinoma is the most common cause of malignant pleural effusions, there is a significant number of hematological and non-hematological uncommon causes of such effusions. Cytopathologists and clinicians must keep in mind these uncommon entities in routine practice for an accurate diagnosis.


Cytopathology; differential diagnosis; malignant; pleural effusion; uncommon causes

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