• fine needle aspiration;
  • cytology;
  • infantile haemangioendothelioma;
  • liver;
  • paediatric neoplasms

E. Sigamani, V. K. Iyer and S. Agarwala

Fine needle aspiration cytology of infantile haemangioendothelioma of the liver: a report of two cases

Background:  Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of infantile haemangioendothelioma of the liver (IHL) has not previously been described because routine use of FNAC is contraindicated due to the risk of bleeding.

Methods and materials:  Two patients presented with progressively increasing right upper quadrant abdominal mass. The index case was a girl aged two and a half years with a large single mass in the right lobe of the liver. The second was a 3-month-old girl in whom ultrasonography revealed multiple hypoechoic lesions in the liver. Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration had been performed on both patients. May-Grünwald-Giemsa stained smears from these two patients were reviewed and correlated with histopathology.

Results:  Both aspirates showed predominantly normal hepatocytes and bile ductules amongst which tumour cells were admixed. The latter were oval to spindle-shaped with scant cytoplasm and wavy, kinked and indented nuclear outlines. The non-epithelial character of the tumour cells was apparent and helped to rule out hepatoblastoma. One case showed extramedullary haemopoiesis. The diagnosis of IHL was established on subsequent excision in the first case and a wedge biopsy in the second case. CD34 and factor VIII R antigen were positive in the tumour cells.

Conclusion:  Radiological diagnosis of IHL is possible in a majority of cases, but sometimes features may overlap with hepatoblastoma and fine needle aspiration may be performed inadvertently. Characteristic kinked nuclei and intermixed normal liver tissue might suggest IHL in the differential diagnosis of a spindle cell vasoformative tumour.