Diagnosing appendicular osteosarcoma with ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration: 36 Cases: Paper

T. Britt, C. Clifford, A. Barger, S. Moroff, K. Drobatz, C. Thacher, G. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine the ability to obtain diagnostic cytology samples from appendicular bone lesions using ultrasound-guided needle aspirations. Secondary objectives were to compare cytological evaluations with histopathological results and to determine the utility of staining malignant mesenchymal cells for the presence of alkaline phosphatase. Methods: Aspirations from 36 aggressive appendicular bone lesions with histological diagnoses were included in the study. Ultrasound was used to guide the needle to the medullary cavity or the adjacent soft tissue mass. The smears stained with Wright-Giemsa and nitroblue tetrazolium chloride/5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indoyl phosphate toluidine salt (NBT/BCIP) were examined. Results: A diagnostic sample was obtained in 32 of the 36 cases. Of the 32 diagnostic samples, cytology indicated sarcoma, with a sensitivity of 97 per cent (confidence interval: 83 to 100 per cent) and a specificity of 100 per cent (confidence interval: 16 to 100 per cent). When a diagnosis of sarcoma was made on cytology, alkaline phosphatase staining indicated osteosarcoma, with a sensitivity of 100 per cent (confidence interval: 87 to 100 per cent). Clinical Significance: The results of this study indicate that ultrasound-guided needle aspiration of aggressive bone lesions is a viable technique for identifying malignant mesenchymal cells and for diagnosing sarcomas. It is cost-effective and minimally invasive. Furthermore, identifying alkaline-phosphatase-negative malignant mesenchymal cells from a bone aspiration may rule out osteosarcoma, whereas alkaline-phosphatase-positive malignant mesenchymal cells are suggestive of osteosarcoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals

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