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Subgrouping and grading of soft-tissue sarcomas by fine-needle aspiration cytology: a histopathologic correlation study.

To evaluate the accuracy and reproducibility of subgrouping and grading soft-tissue sarcomas by fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), a blind review was conducted of 84 FNAB specimens from 77 malignant and 7 benign soft-tissue lesions. Cytomorphologic subgroups included 31 spindle-cell, 24 pleomorphic, 11 myxoid, 7 epithelioid/polygonal, 3 small round cell, and 8 nondiagnostic cases. Malignancies included one lymphoma and 41 primary, 15 recurrent, and 20 metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas. Adequacy was defined as a majority of slides with at least 5 clusters of 10 unobscured cells. Five originally false-negative cases were considered nondiagnostic on review. Sarcoma was recognized in 59 of 64 adequate cases (92%) with available histology; however, the specific histopathologic subtype was identified in only 9 cases (14%). Benign myxoid and spindle-cell lesions were difficult to separate from low-grade sarcomas in 4 cases, and a B-cell lymphoma with sclerosis mimicked a low-grade myxoid sarcoma. The assigned cytologic grade accurately reflected the histologic grade in 90% of sarcomas when segregated into high and low grades. Pleomorphic, small round cell, and epithelioid/polygonal subgroups corresponded to high-grade sarcomas in all cases with only minor noncorrelations. Major grading noncorrelations occurred in 50% of myxoid and 9% of spindle-cell sarcomas. Therefore, attention should be given to specimen adequacy, and caution should be exercised when attempting to grade myxoid and spindle-cell sarcomas by FNAB.

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