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Cytojournal. 2014 Jan 31;11:2. doi: 10.4103/1742-6413.126223. eCollection 2014.

Granulomatous inflammation and organizing pneumonia: Role of computed tomography-guided lung fine needle aspirations, touch preparations and core biopsies in the evaluation of common non-neoplastic diagnoses.

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Address: Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Fine-needle aspirations (FNAs) and core biopsies (CBs), with or without touch preparations (TPs), are performed to characterize pulmonary lesions. Although a positive (P) or suspicious report is sufficient for further management, the significance of unsatisfactory (U), negative (N) and atypical (A) cytological diagnoses remains uncertain. The aims of the study were to correlate U, N and A cytological diagnoses with histological and/or clinical/radiological follow-up and evaluate the utility of FNAs, TPs and CBs.


We performed a retrospective search and examined 30 consecutive computed tomography-guided transthoracic U, N and A lung FNAs (n = 23) and TPs (n = 7) with surgical pathology (SP) (n = 17) and/or clinical/radiological follow-up (n = 13) and compared them to 10 SP-confirmed P FNAs, which served as controls.


The 30 FNAs and TPs were from 29 patients. All 6 U specimens were scantly cellular. Granulomas, the most common specific benign cytological diagnosis, were evident in 8 (of 13) and 7 (of 11) N and A cytology cases, respectively. Histology corroborated the presence of granulomas identified on cytology. Organizing pneumonia was the second leading benign specific diagnosis (5/17), but it was rendered on histology (n = 5) and not FNAs or TPs. Evaluation of the A cases revealed that type II pneumocytes were the source of "atypical", diagnoses often associated with granulomas or organizing pneumonia and lacked 3-D clusters evident in all P cases.


U, N and A FNAs and TPs lacked 3-D clusters seen in carcinomas and were negative on follow-up. Granulomas and organizing pneumonia were the most common specific benign diagnoses, but the latter was recognized on histology only. In the absence of a definitive FNA result at the time of on-site assessment, a CB with a TP containing type II pneumocytes increases the likelihood of a specific benign diagnosis.


Benign; core biopsy; fine-needle aspiration; lung; pulmonary; touch preparations and imprints

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