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Miami, FL
A 57-year-old female asked:

I had a lymph node biopsy (neck) that came back atypical cells. what does this mean and how likely is this cancer?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Riley Alexander
Pathology 12 years experience
More investigation: Atypical cells means that the pathologist saw cells that weren't definitive for cancer, but were abnormal. These can be due to a number of things (infection, poor fixation, radiation, cancer, etc.), but rendering this diagnosis either means the pathologist will do special tests to determine this or lets your clinician know they may need more tissue if they are still suspicious.

Similar questions

Miami, FL
A 57-year-old female asked:

How likely are atypical cells found in a lymph node biopsy cancerous?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Myron Arlen
Surgical Oncology 65 years experience
Questionable: When lymph nodes are examined it is to see if the are involved in an inflammatory process or have a primary or metastatic malignancy ongoing. Touch preps may help to define the presence of abnormal cells but if they do, immunohistochemistry is performed with a battery of monoclonals to see if a specific malignancy is present. At times normal skin and glandular elements are found in nodes
Last updated Jun 20, 2021

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