Ancient (degenerated) schwannomas are benign tumors that display pronounced degenerative changes including cyst formation, calcification, hemorrhage, and hyalinization. The tumors are usually infiltrated by large numbers of inflammatory cells such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, siderophages, and histiocytes. They are located in deep locations such as the retroperitoneum and must be differentiated from malignant soft tissue tumors because spindle cells with nuclear atypia may be present in the fine needle aspiration biopsy. The cytologic findings of two cases of ancient schwannoma occurring in posterior mediastinum and retroperitoneum, respectively, are described. Computerized tomographic findings of both cases showed changes of cystic degeneration or necrosis. A case occurred in retroperitoneum revealed features of destruction of vertebral body to suggest a malignant soft tussue tumor radiologically. The cytologic findings of aspiration biopsy of both tumors revealed that the tumor cells were spindle in shape with elongated nuclei. Some of tumor cells were arranged in a palisading fashion. Cell structures that resemble the Verocay bodies were observed. Some of the tumor cells showed pleomorphic bizarre nuclei, but no mitotic activity or chromatin clumping was seen. Inflammatory cells, siderophages and histiocytes were scattered in fibrillar material. These cytologic findings are important in the diagnosis of ancient schwannoma and in the differentiation of this tumor from the malignant spindle cell tumor.