Cytologic diagnosis of intraocular lymphoma in vitreous aspirates

Tunde Farkas, J. William Harbour, Rosa M. Dávila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the cytologic findings of vitreous fluids with atypical, suspicious for malignancy or malignant lymphoid cells to assess cytologic parameters that may help in reaching the diagnosis of intraocular lymphoma. STUDY DESIGN: Vitreous aspirates with a malignant, suspicious for malignancy or atypical lymphoid population were identified from the files of Barnes-Jewish Hospital during the previous 11 years. Cytologic preparations were reviewed. Pertinent clinical information was obtained from medical records. RESULTS: Thirteen vitreous aspirates from 12 patients were included. The chief complaints included floaters, blurred vision and decreased visual acuity. Bilateral ocular involvement was present in 8 (67%) patients. Three patients had a history of an extraocular lymphoid malignancy. All patients underwent pars plana vitrectomy and collection of the vitreous aspirate. Cytologic diagnoses included: malignant lymphoma (9 of 13), suspicious for malignant lymphoma (3 of 13) and atypical lymphoid population (1 of 13). Most samples had high cellularity (11 of 13) and necrosis (9 of 13). Abnormal lymphoid cells were large (2-4 times the size of a lymphocyte) and had a high nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, prominent nucleoli, irregular nuclear contours and a fine to coarse chromatin pattern. All cases with malignant cytology had abundant abnormal lymphoid cells; inconclusive cases had few. Immunocytochemistry for CD20 and CD45RO was performed on 9 of 13 samples and was conclusive in 6 of 9. CONCLUSION: Cytologic analysis of vitreous aspirates can be useful in diagnosing intraocular involvement by malignant lymphoma. Sparse cellularity is the main factor leading to inconclusive diagnoses. Immunostaining can be useful in confirming the lymphoid nature of the malignant cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-491
Number of pages5
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Aspiration biopsy
  • Eye cancer
  • Lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cytologic diagnosis of intraocular lymphoma in vitreous aspirates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this