Cytology of Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma

Introduction: While there is a high degree of accuracy in the cytologic diagnosis of these tumors, the tumor cells may be mistaken for normal cells. The photos here show features of the nonmucinous type. Note the sheets of cohesive cells.

Cytoplasm is delicate and lacy. Cells are uniform in size. Nuclei have finely granular chromatin and small or absent nucleoli. Some are folded (arrow).

A central cluster of tumor cells (long arrow) is surrounded by inflammatory cells (above) and macrophages (bottom right). At this magnification, tumor cytoplasmic borders are well-defined. The cell size and N/C ratio are subtly higher than that of the macrophage (short arrow). Note that cilia, which indicate benign cells, are absent.


Saleh H, Haapaniemi J, Khatib G, Sakr W. Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma: diagnostic pitfalls and immunocytochemical contribution. Diagn Cytopathol 1998; 18:301-306.

Clinical summary Precursor lesion Discussion

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