Adrenal gland cytology reporting: a multi-institutional proposal for a standardized reporting system

Levent Trabzonlu, Lucy Jager, Seena Tabibi, Margaret L. Compton, Vivian L. Weiss, Yonca Kanber, Valentina Robila, Tatjana Antic, Zahra Maleki, Elizabeth Gabrielle Morency, Güliz A. Barkan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: With the development of new technologies and the changing patient profiles, cytopathology departments receive increasing numbers of adrenal gland cytology specimens. In this study, the authors analyzed archival adrenal gland cytology cases and attempted to implement a diagnostic reporting system. DESIGN: Retrospective electronic medical record search was performed for adrenal gland cytology specimens in seven tertiary care centers. The cytology diagnoses were grouped in 7 categories: nondiagnostic, nonneoplastic, benign adrenal cortical elements (BACE), primary neoplasm of noncortical origin (NONC), atypia of undetermined significance (AUS), suspicious for malignancy (SM), and malignant (MAL). If available, histopathology results of concurrent and/or follow-up biopsies and/or resections were documented. RESULTS: A total of 473 adrenal gland cytology cases were included. BACE cases comprised 21.8%, whereas MAL cases were 57.5% of all cases. For BACE and MAL categories, there were 100% and 98.9% correlation, respectively, in the cases with histopathology follow-up. Six of 10 NONC cases had histopathology diagnoses and there were 3 pheochromocytomas and 3 schwannomas. Twenty-one AUS cases had histology follow-up and 10 (47.6%) of them were malignant. Six cases of SM had histopathology follow-up, and all of them were malignant on the follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The authors propose a 7-tier diagnostic scheme for adrenal gland cytology. The risk of malignancy was 98.9% in MAL cases (87/88) in the cohort. The only case with discordance was reported as “adrenal cortical adenoma with marked atypia”' on resection. There was no difference between endoscopic ultrasound-guided and percutaneous methods. Further studies are needed to validate and make this approach universal.;.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-432
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Cytopathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • adrenal gland
  • categorization
  • cytology
  • fine-needle aspiration
  • reporting system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Adrenal gland cytology reporting: a multi-institutional proposal for a standardized reporting system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this