Impact of cytopathologist expert on diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic lesions in current clinical practice. A series of 106 endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspirations

K Drak Alsibai, B Denis, J Bottlaender, I Kleinclaus, P Straub, M Fabre
Cytopathology: Official Journal of the British Society for Clinical Cytology 2006, 17 (1): 18-26

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the role of a cytopathologist expert in interpreting difficult pancreatic endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) in terms of impact on diagnostic yield and therapy in current clinical practice.

METHODS: Retrospective study of 106 EUS-FNA performed between January 2002 and September 2004. Forty-seven cases of difficult interpretation by the local cytopathologist were mailed to an expert cytopathologist. The final diagnosis was established by histology obtained by either surgery (n=30), non-equivocal FNA (n=40) or core (n=8) biopsies, or by a mean follow-up of 14 months (n=28).

RESULTS: EUS-FNA involved 68 solid lesions (SL). Specimens collected were adequate in 63%. The overall sensitivity of EUS-FNA for the diagnosis of malignancy of SL was 88% versus 72% for local cytopathologist and 89% for expert. EUS-FNA with the reevaluation by expert of 39 SL gave a therapeutic impact in 47% of SL. Thirty-eight cystic lesions (CL) were evaluated. Specimens collected were adequate for cytology in 84% of cases and for biochemistry in 79%. The sensitivity of imaging+EUS-FNA+/-biochemistry for the diagnosis of a surgical CL was 58% with a therapeutic impact in 39.5%.

CONCLUSION: Pancreatic EUS-FNA is an easy technique for experienced endosonographers, which can be safely performed on an outpatient basis. The possibility of mailing difficult cases to an expert cytopathologist increases the diagnostic yield. In these circumstances, EUS-FNA has a therapeutic impact in current practice in nearly one out of two pancreatic lesions.

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