Cytologic features of granulosa cell tumors in fluids and fine needle aspiration specimens

Aseem Lal*, Eleni P. Bourtsos, Ritu Nayar, Denise V.S. DeFrias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe the cytologic features of granulosa cell tumors in fluids and fine needle aspiration specimens, with histologic confirmation. STUDY DESIGN: Histologically confirmed granulosa cell tumors, 6 adult type and 1 juvenile type, were identified. All patients had local recurrences or metastases. Eleven specimens from 7 patients, including cytologic samples, cell blocks and histology, were reviewed. Inhibin immunostaining was performed on cell blocks to aid identification of this group of tumors in the cytologic and histologic samples. RESULTS: The patients were 22-72 years old. Sites included ovary and peritoneum; there were pelvic recurrences and metastatic lesions in the spleen, liver, perirectum and cervical lymph node. Cytologic features of adult granulosa cell tumors included 3-dimensional clusters, rosettes, loose monolayers and individual cells. Other features were Call-Exner bodies, vacuolated cytoplasm, exuberant capillaries associated with papillarylike fronds, a second population of elongated theca cells, and prominent or rare nuclear grooves. In juvenile granulosa cell tumor the features observed were monolayers, loosely cohesive sheets, single cells, occasional larger pleomorphic cells with nuclear clefting and nuclear protrusions, vacuolated cytoplasm, finely granular chromatin and frequent mitoses. The overall cytologic and histologic correlation was good. Inhibin was focally positive in one peritoneal fluid, correlating with the focal pattern of staining seen on histology. CONCLUSION: A definitive cytologic diagnosis of granulosa cell tumor can be made based on the above criteria. Aggressive tumors are discohesive and show pleomorphism and nuclear protrusions. Inhibin stain may be helpful in identifying granulosa cell tumors in cell block specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Aspiration biopsy
  • Body fluids
  • Granulosa cell tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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