Atypical retinal astrocytic hamartoma diagnosed by fine-needle biopsy.
BACKGROUND: Retinal astrocytic hamartoma and retinoblastoma may be very similar clinically, and their differentiation in atypical cases can be difficult, even with the use of ancillary methods such as fluorescein angiography, ultrasonography, and computed tomography. To the authors knowledge, fine-needle aspiration biopsy has not been used to diagnose astrocytic hamartoma in such cases. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A 7-week-old boy had a minimally calcified retinal mass in the macular area of the left eye associated with an extensive secondary retinal detachment. The differential diagnosis included retinal astrocytic hamartoma and retinoblastoma. A transvitreal fine-needle aspiration biopsy was performed. RESULTS: The cytology of the needle biopsy showed benign spindle and stellate cells, which were compatible with glial cells. The lesion had immunoreactivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein, further supporting the diagnosis of astrocytic tumor. CONCLUSION: Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is diagnostically useful in unusual cases where the differential diagnosis between retinoblastoma and astrocytic hamartoma is difficult.
Shields, JA; Shields, CL; Ehya, H; Buckley, E; De Potter, P
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