EUS-FNA is superior to ERCP-based tissue sampling in suspected malignant biliary obstruction: results of a prospective, single-blind, comparative study

Frank Weilert, Yasser M Bhat, Kenneth F Binmoeller, Steve Kane, Ian M Jaffee, Richard E Shaw, Rees Cameron, Yusuke Hashimoto, Janak N Shah
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 2014, 80 (1): 97-104

BACKGROUND: Both EUS and ERCP sampling techniques may provide tissue diagnoses in suspected malignant biliary obstruction. However, there are scant data comparing these 2 methods.

OBJECTIVE: To compare EUS-guided FNA (EUS-FNA) and ERCP tissue sampling for the diagnosis of malignant biliary obstruction.

DESIGN: Prospective, comparative, single-blind study.

SETTING: Tertiary center.

PATIENTS: Fifty-one patients undergoing same-session EUS and ERCP for the evaluation of malignant biliary obstruction over a 1-year period.

INTERVENTIONS: EUS-FNA and ERCP tissue sampling with biliary brush cytology and intraductal forceps biopsies.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Diagnostic sensitivity and accuracy of each sampling method compared with final diagnoses.

RESULTS: EUS-FNA was more sensitive and accurate than ERCP tissue sampling (P < .0001) in 51 patients with pancreatic cancers (n = 34), bile duct cancers (n = 14), and benign biliary strictures (n = 3). The overall sensitivity and accuracy were 94% and 94% for EUS-FNA, and 50% and 53% for ERCP sampling, respectively. EUS-FNA was superior to ERCP tissue sampling for pancreatic masses (sensitivity, 100% vs 38%; P < .0001) and seemed comparable for biliary masses (79% sensitivity for both) and indeterminate strictures (sensitivity, 80% vs 67%).

LIMITATIONS: Single-center study.

CONCLUSION: EUS-FNA is superior to ERCP tissue sampling in evaluating suspected malignant biliary obstruction, particularly for pancreatic masses. EUS-FNA appears similar to ERCP sampling for biliary tumors and indeterminate strictures. Given the superior performance characteristics of EUS-FNA and the higher incidence of pancreatic cancer compared with cholangiocarcinoma, EUS-FNA should be performed before ERCP in all patients with suspected malignant biliary obstruction. (


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