Role of fine needle aspiration cytology in the diagnosis of soft tissue tumours

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is a widely accepted safe, simple and rapid diagnostic procedure used in the examination of neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions of various locations. Since its introduction, FNAC has developed into an effective diagnostic tool practiced in a large majority of medical centres evaluating and treating oncological patients. The role of FNAC has been limited in the examination of primary soft tissue lesions, however, as many physicians working in this area recommended against using FNAC. An increasing use of minimally invasive diagnostic procedures in the last decade has resulted in a better acceptance of FNAC as a first-line approach or as a complementary tool to core needle biopsy in the diagnosis of musculoskeletal lesions. This review discusses the role and value of FNAC in the evaluation and treatment of soft tissue tumours based on the experience gathered over the course of 48 years at the Sarcoma Center in Lund, Sweden. FNAC reports most often provide diagnostic information allowing the initiation of treatment or, when definitive diagnosis cannot be rendered from a cytological examination, guiding the continued diagnostic investigation. The main advantages of soft tissue FNAC are good sensitivity and specificity, low morbidity, speed of diagnosis, and low cost/benefit ratio. The most important disadvantages stem from limited experience in cytological diagnosis of soft tissue tumours and a lack of standardised and uniform reporting system for soft tissue FNAC.


  • Henryk A. Domanski
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Poznan University of Medical Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Laboratory and Measurements Technologies


  • ancillary methods, cytology, fine needle aspiration, sarcoma, soft tissue tumours
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul
Publication categoryResearch