Fine needle aspiration biopsy cytopathology (FNAC) of lymph nodes is a very common, inexpensive, and rapid diagnostic procedure and can lead to the accurate and timely diagnosis of one of the wide range of pathological processes that involve lymph nodes. These diagnoses include specific reactive processes, specific infections such as tuberculosis, metastatic carcinomas and melanomas, and some lymphomas. The FNAC effectively triages the lymph node material, but the initial diagnosis often requires ancillary testing as a second diagnostic step to make a specific diagnosis, such as the particular infectious agent, the type of lymphoma or Hodgkin lymphoma, or the specific type of metastatic malignancy. An international group of cytopathologists have begun the process of developing a system for the standardized reporting of lymph node FNAC. The group is addressing the pre-analytical issues related to the FNAC, including the role of clinical information and the use of ultrasound, and developing a structure of reporting categories based on the cytopathological findings linked to management recommendations. The basis of the system is the integration of the FNAC with the clinical setting, imaging, and ancillary tests that utilize the FNAC material, to produce a final report that will enhance patient care.

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