Fine-Needle Aspiration of Superficial and Deeply Seated Lymph Nodes on Patients with and Without a History of Malignancy: Review of 439 Cases

Kristian T. Schafernak, Larry F. Kluskens, Reshma Ariga, Vijaya B. Reddy, Paolo Gattuso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study addresses the utility of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in assessing lymphadenopathy in patients with and without a previous history of malignancy. We reviewed the FNAs of superficial and deeply seated lymph nodes performed at our institution over a period of 18 yr (1983-2001). Where applicable, we also reviewed and report here the results of subsequent surgical excisional biopsies. We analyzed data from 439 patients, who ranged in age from 1 to 90 yr. The neck and retroperitoneum were the most frequently sampled sites (47% and 25%, respectively). Among the 439 FNAs, adequate material was obtained in 421 cases (96%); the remaining 18 were unsatisfactoy (4.1%). Malignant diagnoses were rendered in 330 cases (75% of 439), four were suspicious for lymphoma (0.9%), and 87 were read as reactive lymph nodes or granulomas (20%). The most common malignant cytologic diagnoses from these lymph node FNAs were adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and lymphoma. We compared results between two major groups: patients with a history of malignancy and those without. FNA showed malignancy in 87% of patients with a history of cancer and 41% without such a history. Thirty-three or 10% of patients with a history of malignancy were given a benign diagnosis and follow-up surgical excisional biopsies were performed in nine of these cases. Four of the nine showed low-grade lymphoma. Of the 18 nondiagnostic FNAs, nine came from patients with a history of malignancy and in six of these nine who had a follow-up surgical excisional biopsy the lymph nodes were positive for malignancy. Of the other nine, who had no history of malignancy, only two had follow-up biopsies and both of these were negative. Patients with a history of malignancy are more than twice as likely to show malignancy on lymph node FNA compared to those without such a history (87% vs. 41%). Knowing whether a patient has a history of malignancy provides the appropriate level of suspicion for ordering ancillary investigations or even recommending excisional biopsy for further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
JournalDiagnostic cytopathology
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Keywords

  • FNA
  • Lymph nodes
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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