• fine needle aspiration cytology;
  • soft tissue tumours;
  • cytohistologic correlation

Cytological diagnosis of soft tissue tumours

The aims of this study were to determine the patterns of soft tissue tumours and also to try to assess the utility of fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) in diagnosing soft tissue tumours. Of 15 361 patients who visited the cytology diagnostic service of the Pathology Department, Medical Faculty, Addis Ababa University, 623 (4.1%) cases with a diagnosis of soft tissue tumours were retrieved from the department’s records for the years 1991–96. Fifty-three soft tissue tumours (25 benign and 28 malignant tumours) with combined FNAC and surgical biopsy results were traced for cyto-histological correlations. Twenty-two out of 25 benign soft tissue tumours were correctly diagnosed, with three false cytologic diagnoses where one mesenchmal neoplasm, one haemangioma, and one haemorragic lesion were identified; and out of 28 malignant soft tissue, 23 were correctly diagnosed however, the five false cytological diagnoses were one soft tissue sarcoma, one dermatofibrosarcoma, one malignant mesenchymal neoplasm, one spindle cell neoplasm and one menechymal neoplasm. Thus, in this study a sensitivity and specificity of 88.5% and 81.5% respectively for the diagnosis of soft tissue tumours were reported. In conclusion, FNAC of soft tissue tumours is a fast, effective and reliable diagnostic tool that may help in categorizing soft tissue tumours into benign and malignant groups for clinical management.