Journal of Cytology
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Fine-needle cytological characteristics of carcinoma breast with medullary or medullary-like features masquerading as dendritic reticulum cell sarcoma: An attempt to explore the reasons for erroneous cytologic interpretation

 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, and Cytology and Histopathology Units, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Kuwait

Correspondence Address:
Dilip K Das,
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, P.O. Box: 24923, Safat 13110
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JOC.JOC_15_20

Background: Infiltration of tumors by dendritic reticulum cells (DRC) reflects the host immune defense mechanism. We observed three breast carcinomas cases with dense tumor-infiltrating DRC and lymphocytes in fine-needle aspiration (FNA) smears, leading to cytodiagnosis or differential diagnosis of dendritic reticulum cell sarcoma (DRCS). An attempt was made to find out the reason behind such an erroneous interpretation. Materials and Methods: Between 2009 and 2014, two cases were diagnosed as DRCS of the female breast by FNA cytology and in one case possibility of DRCS was considered along with medullary breast carcinoma (MBC). We compare and contrast the cytomorphological features of these three cases with those of nine cytologically diagnosed MBC. Results: Cases diagnosed as DRCS or MBC showed singly dispersed tumor cells, nuclear pleomorphism, bare nuclei, prominent nucleoli, and presence of lymphocytes. There was no significant difference between the two groups for discohesive clusters, syncytial clusters, plasma cells, neutrophils, foamy histiocytes, and necrosis. However, there was significant difference for presence of cohesive clusters (0% DRCS and 100% MBC,P = 0.00485), severe degree (+++) of pleomorphism (100% DRCS vs. 11.1% MBC,P = 0.01818), +++ DRC (P = 0.04697), and DRC with ++ to +++ enlarged nuclei (P = 0.03333), and pleomorphic nuclei (P = 0.00833). Two of the three cytologically diagnosed DRCS cases proved to be MBC or MBC-like and one as invasive ductal carcinoma. Six of nine cytologically diagnosed MBC cases with histology proved to be invasive breast carcinomas. Conclusion: Criteria for cytodiagnosis MBC need a fresh look. Cases with numerous dendritic cells possibly represent MBC.

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    -  Das DK
    -  Pathan SK
    -  Sheikh ZA
    -  Mallik MK
    -  John B
    -  Mothaffer F
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