Metastatic cutaneous and subcutaneous lesions: Analysis of cases diagnosed on fine needle aspiration cytology
Background: Cutaneous and subcutaneous metastasis from an underlying primary, indicates a dismal outcome for patients. It is appropriate to use fine needle aspiration cytology as a minimally invasive method for diagnosis. This study emphasises the role of fine needle aspiration cytology in diagnosing metastatic skin nodules.
Materials and methods: This was a retrospective study in which the record of all patients subjected to fine needle aspiration cytology from April 2008 – Nov 2010 in the Department of Pathology, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, were reviewed. Of 5,927 patients, 19 cases diagnosed as metastatic skin lesions were included in the study.
Results: Out of 19 patients with metastatic skin nodules, 9 patients had metastasis simultaneously with the primary and 8 cases were previously diagnosed. All metastases were from internal solid organ tumours with male to female ratio of 1.7:1. Lung carcinoma was the most common to metastasis in both sexes which included adenocarcinoma (5 cases) and squamous cell carcinoma (6 cases). Common sites for cutaneous/subcutaneous metastasis were the chest wall (9 cases) followed by abdomen (4 cases) and scalp (3 cases).
Conclusion: Fine needle aspiration cytology can diagnose a variety of skin lesions which may be supportive in diagnosing a metastasis in cases with known primaries or it may offer a clue to underlying malignancy in unsuspected cases.
Keywords: Fine needle aspiration; Cutaneous metastases
Journal of Pathology of Nepal (2011) Vol.1, 37-40