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Clinicopathological spectrum of anterior mediastinal lesions with special reference to the role of cytology in diagnosis: A cross-sectional study

Prerana Mondal, Dipanwita Nag, Aparajita Samaddar, Srishtidhar Mangal, Nandini Das, Ipsita Saha.


Background: Anterior mediastinal tumors comprise only 3% of all chest tumours. They are often of diagnostic challenge to both clinicians and histopathologists owing to their wide variety of clinical presentations and diversity in histomorphological appearance respectively. Hence, there is a need for elaborated studies to make the pathologists and clinicians aware of their diversity.

Aim and Objectives: The present study was aimed to evaluate the diverse spectrum of clinical presentations and histomorphological appearances of anterior mediastinal lesions. In addition, cytological and radiological interpretations were correlated with histological diagnosis to assess their comparative role in diagnosis.

Materials and Methods: It was a descriptive observational cross-sectional study. Patients diagnosed with anterior mediastinal mass on chest computed tomography (CT) scan were included in this study. Demographic details including clinical presentations and radiological interpretations were recorded. Patients underwent both CT guided Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and needle core/excisional biopsy. Histological diagnosis was correlated with radiological and cytological interpretations.

Results: Of 659 patients presented with chest tumours, 19 were detected as having anterior mediastinal mass on chest CT scan indicating the prevalence of 2.88%. The most common presenting symptom was respiratory distress (73.68%), followed by chest pain (36.84%), superior vena cava syndrome (26.32%) and Myasthenic features (5.26%). About 50% of malignant tumours occurred at the 2nd decade of life. Thymic epithelial neoplasms comprise the major tumour type in this study (52.63%) followed by germ cell tumors (15.79%) and lymphomas (10.53%). Cytology was found to be more effective compared to radiology in diagnosis.

Conclusion: Anterior mediastinal tumors are extremely heterogeneous in clinical presentation and histomorphological appearance. CT-guided FNAC can play an important role in their diagnosis along with radiology and histology.

Key words: Anterior Mediastinum; Mediastinal Mass; Histomorphological Spectrum; Cytology

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