Fine-needle aspiration cytology of sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma: A morphologic and immunocytochemical study of 15 cases



Sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma (SRCC), which accounts for 5% of all renal cell carcinomas (RCC), has a worse prognosis than conventional nonsarcomatoid RCC. making accurate diagnosis important. This study reports on the morphologic and immunocytochemical features of 15 cases of SRCC (9 primary tumors and 6 metastases) diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy. All but three cases showed a dimorphic cell population consisting of varying proportions of a high-grade epithelial component, either clear or granular-cell type and a spindle cell (sarcomatoid) component, of either fibrosarcomatous, malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), or unclassified types. The sarcomatoid component in the biphasic and monophasic tumors stained positively for cytokeratin in 12 of 14 (85%) cases, for vimentin in 10 of 11 (91 %) cases, and for muscle-specific action in 4 of 11 (36%) cases. Of note, the three cases that demonstrated a purely sarcomatoid morphology stained positively for cytokeratin. Unlike in studies performed on surgically resected specimens, neither the proportion of the sarcomatoid component nor the presence of necrosis had prognostic significance, the discrepancy most likely being related to the sampling. We conclude that SRCC, both primary and metastatic, can be accurately diagnosed by FNA when cytologic features are evaluated in conjunction with immunocytochemical findings.