Body Cavity Effusions and Washings

  • Xin JingEmail author
Part of the Practical Anatomic Pathology book series (PAP)


Body cavity effusions refer to excess fluid that accumulates in the peritoneal, pleural, or pericardial cavity. Body cavity washings often include intraoperative peritoneal or pelvic washings. Cytologic evaluation of body cavity fluids plays an important role in the detection of metastatic diseases, as well as primary body cavity-based lesions. It is crucial to distinguish malignant from benign effusions/washings as the presence of malignant cells may affect diagnosis and staging of malignancies, and ultimately influence treatment of patients. This chapter aims to answer commonly encountered questions regarding cytologic diagnoses of effusions/washings associated with common and uncommon malignancies, as well as a few benign conditions. Cytomorphological features will be demonstrated along with discussions of the practical use of ancillary tests.


Cytology of effusions and washings Benign effusions Metastatic Malignancies in effusions Mesothelioma Effusions with adenocarcinoma Effusions with squamous cell carcinoma Effusions with small cell carcinoma Effusions with urothelial cell carcinoma Effusions with papillary thyroid carcinoma Effusions with melanoma Effusions with multiple myeloma 



The author thanks Brian Smola, senior cytotechnologist at University of Michigan for proofreading and editing the chapter.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Michigan-Michigan MedicineAnn ArborUSA

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