OUP user menu

Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy of Nonteratomatous Germ Cell Tumors of the Mediastinum

David C. Chhieng MD, Oscar Lin MD, Cesar A. Moran MD, Isam A. Eltoum MD, Nirag C. Jhala MD, Darshana N. Jhala MD, Aylin Simsir MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/4DJ8-F94D-0PUK-NPQW 418-424 First published online: 1 September 2002


We assessed the usefulness of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in the diagnosis of mediastinal germ cell tumors (GCTs). In the archives of 3 pathology departments, we found records of 7 patients with mediastinal GCTs who underwent mediastinal FNAB as part of the diagnostic workup. The FNAB smears, results of the immunocytochemical analysis, the corresponding histologic findings, and the clinical charts were reviewed. All patients were men (age range, 24–44 years; mean, 32 years). One patient had a history of testicular mixed GCT 10 years earlier. The 6 primary mediastinal GCTs consisted of 3 seminomas and 3 yolk sac tumors. Based on the cytologic features and immunocytochemical findings, a cytologic diagnosis of GCT was made in 5 cases, including the case of metastatic GCT. In 2 cases, the differential diagnosis was between poorly differentiated carcinoma and GCT. Results of ancillary studies were noncontributory in 1 case, and the aspirate of the second case demonstrated extensive necrosis. Our findings demonstrate that a diagnosis of mediastinal GCT, primary or secondary, can be established with a high degree of accuracy on the basis of FNAB. Immunocytochemical analysis helps confirm the diagnosis.

Key Words:
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Mediastinum
  • Germ cell tumors