Fine needle aspiration biopsy in pediatric ophthalmic tumors and pseudotumors

Acta Cytol. 1993 Mar-Apr;37(2):125-30.


In an eight-year period (1983-1990) approximately 500 fine needle aspiration biopsies (FNABs) of eye lesions were processed in our laboratory. Eighty-one of the cases, obtained from 77 pediatric patients (ranging from 4 weeks to 16 years of age), were the subject of this study. The specimens included 73 intraocular and 8 orbital aspirates. Forty-four of the specimens were from diagnostic procedures, whereas 37 were obtained from surgical specimens immediately after enucleation. Eight FNABs (four diagnostic and four postenucleation) were deemed inadequate for cytologic diagnosis. Of the remaining 73 cases, 38 were diagnosed as malignant (34 retinoblastomas, 3 medulloepitheliomas, 1 rhabdomyosarcoma), and all were confirmed upon subsequent histologic examination. Four cases were diagnosed as suspicious for malignancy; all of them proved to be malignant (two retinoblastomas, two rhabdomyosarcomas). One orbital aspirate contained cells suggestive of a glial origin and was confirmed histologically as pilocytic astrocytoma. Ten cases were reported as compatible with Coats' disease; all were confirmed to be benign by histologic examination (three cases) or clinical follow-up (seven cases). The remaining 20 benign aspirates (13 with inflammatory cells, 6 with macrophages and 1 with blood) proved to be from benign conditions by histologic examination (4 cases) or clinical follow-up (16 cases). There were no false-positive diagnoses. The overall accuracy of FNAB was 95%, and the accuracy of cytologic interpretation was 100%. We conclude that FNAB is a reliable and accurate diagnostic modality in the assessment of selected pediatric ophthalmic diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology*
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / pathology*