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Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytology is based on the cytopathologic findings of other body fluids. However, CSF's cytologic features are less familiar to physicians than are those of the other body fluid's cytology because of the small number of cases. The low overall diagnostic accuracy and the presence of false positivity still remain as problems. The incidence of lymphoreticular malignancies and metastatic carcinomas are rather higher than that of primary brain tumors. In this review, the characteristic cytologic findings of conventional CSF cytology are reviewed along with a brief note on the technical preparation and diagnostic pitfalls.


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytology is based on the cytopathologic findings of other body fluids. However, CSF's cytologic features are less familiar to physicians than are those of the other body fluid's cytology because of the small number of cases. The low overall diagnostic accuracy and the presence of false positivity still remain as problems. The incidence of lymphoreticular malignancies and metastatic carcinomas are rather higher than that of primary brain tumors. In this review, the characteristic cytologic findings of conventional CSF cytology are reviewed along with a brief note on the technical preparation and diagnostic pitfalls.