• rhabdomyosarcoma;
  • alveolar;
  • embryonal;
  • cytology;
  • aspiration


To determine diagnostic cytomorphologic features of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) on fine-needle aspiration (FNA) material, the cytologic material and corresponding histologic slides of 180 tumors obtained from 109 patients were reviewed. Fifty eight (32.2%) tumors were primary, 34 (18.9%) recurrent, and 88 (48.9%) metastatic. A review of original cytology reports revealed that 176 of 180 (97.8%) tumors were either diagnosed accurately or as round cell sarcoma, while 3 (1.7%) were reported as suspicious. In one case (0.5%), the material was unsatisfactory. No false negative samples were seen.

When FNA morphology was correlated with different histological subtypes, the alveolar subtype RMSs were more cellular than the nonalveolar ones (91.4% vs. 64.9%). Similarly, alveolar subtype RMSs compared with nonalveolar ones exhibited more rhabdomyoblastic cells (77.1% vs. 52.7%), alveolar structures (67.6% vs. 10.8%), giant, multinucleated cells (22.9% vs. 6.7%), mitotic figures (57.1% vs. 18.9%), and cyto-nuclear atypia (77.1% vs. 43.2%). Inversely, spindle-shaped cells were more frequently seen in nonalveolar versus alveolar RMSs (37.8% vs. 20.9%). Diagn. Cytopathol. 2007;35:482–487. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.