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Cancer. 1986 Apr 15;57(8):1565-70.

Cytologic diagnosis of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma by fine-needle aspiration biopsy.


From 1970 to June 1984, 275 patients with bronchioloalveolar carcinoma were admitted to the Toronto General Hospital. Of these, 181 (190 aspiration biopsies, including nine repeat samples) had this diagnosis made following the use of transthoracic fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Based on the cytomorphologic features observed in the aspiration preparations, the tumor was subclassified into three types: nonsecretory, secretory, and poorly differentiated. The cytologic features of these three types of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma are presented and illustrated. Cytomorphologically, the three types of this tumor are distinctly different and their features are sufficiently distinctive from those of bronchogenic adenocarcinoma and metastatic adenocarcinomas to be of diagnostic value. Transthoracic fine-needle aspiration biopsy appears to be a definitive minimally invasive means of establishing the diagnosis of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma preoperatively and especially to be of value for those small peripheral cancers which are relatively inaccessible to direct method of study and are potentially surgically curable.

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