JOURNAL ARTICLE

Predictors of malignancy and recommended follow-up in patients with negative endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of suspected pancreatic lesions

Bret J Spier, Eric A Johnson, Deepak V Gopal, Terrence Frick, Michael M Einstein, Siobhan Byrne, Rebecca L Koscik, Jinn-Ing Liou, Terri Broxmeyer, Suzanne M Selvaggi, Patrick R Pfau
Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology 2009, 23 (4): 279-86
19373422

BACKGROUND: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) with fine-needle aspiration (FNA) can characterize and diagnose pancreatic lesions as malignant, but cannot definitively rule out the presence of malignancy. Outcome data regarding the length of follow-up in patients with negative or nondiagnostic EUS-FNA of pancreatic lesions are not well-established.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the long-term outcome and provide follow-up guidance for patients with negative EUS-FNA diagnosis of suspected pancreatic lesions based on imaging predictors.

METHODS: A retrospective review of patients undergoing EUS-FNA for suspected pancreatic lesions, but with negative or nondiagnostic FNA results was conducted at a tertiary care referral medical centre. Patient demographics, EUS imaging characteristics and follow-up data were examined.

RESULTS: Seventeen of 55 patients (30.9%) with negative/nondiagnostic FNA were subsequently diagnosed with pancreatic malignancy. The risk of cancer was significantly higher for patients who had associated lymph nodes on EUS (P<0.001) and vascular involvement on EUS (P=0.001). The mean time to diagnosis in the group with falsenegative EUS-FNA diagnosis was 66 days. The true-negative EUSFNA patients were followed for a mean of 403 days after negative EUS-FNA results without the development of malignancy.

CONCLUSION: For patients undergoing EUS-FNA for a suspected pancreatic lesion, a negative or nondiagnostic FNA does not provide conclusive evidence for the absence of cancer. Patients for whom vascular invasion and lymphadenopathy are detected on EUS are more likely to have a true malignant lesion and should be followed closely. When a patient has been monitored for six months or more with no cancer being diagnosed, there appears to be much less chance that a pancreatic malignancy is present.

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