Fine needle aspiration cytology of supraclavicular lymph nodes: Our experience over a three-year period
Medknow -- Journal of Cytology
DOI 10.4103/0970-9371.83465
  1. Fine needle aspiration cytology
  2. metastatic carcinoma
  3. supraclavicular lymph nodes


This study was taken up with the aim to investigate the pattern of supraclavicular lymphadenopathy among patients presenting to our tertiary care institution, evaluate the diagnostic efficacy of fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), and analyze the diagnostic pitfalls.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 215 patients were subjected to FNAC of supraclavicular lymph nodes over a three-year period (August 2006 to July 2009). Since in 18 patients as either the aspirate was inadequate or the opinion was equivocal, we analyzed the remaining 197 cases.


Malignant pathology accounted for 79.7% (157/197) of the cases. These were mostly cases of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (79/197, 40.1%), adenocarcinoma (47/197, 23.9%), small cell carcinoma (12/197, 6.1%) and lymphoma (10/197, 5%). There were 28 (14.2%) cases of tuberculosis. Out of these 197 patients, 92 patients were biopsied. The opinion based on FNAC was erroneous in 6 cases but corroborated with the final histopathology findings in the remaining 86 cases.


FNAC is an excellent first line of investigation; and when used with a proper combination of experience and diligence, it can greatly reduce the number of errors.