We reviewed 119 percutaneous, radiologically guided fine-needle aspirations (FNA) from 114 patients with liver masses to evaluate diagnostic effectiveness and complications of this procedure. Satisfactory material was obtained in 118 cases (99%), of which 78 were diagnosed as positive (66%), three suspicious (2%), five atypical (4%), and 32 (27%) as negative for malignancy. Compared to surgical biopsy (48 cases) and clinical data, the sensitivity and specificity of FNA for malignancy was 95.1% and 100%, respectively, yielding a positive predictive value of 100% and a negative predictive value of 88.8%. Four cytology cases (3.4%) were false-negatives (FN); all were interpretive errors. Four FN surgical biopsies (8.3%) were sampling errors. Minor complications occurred in three cases (2.5%). We conclude that FNA is safe and effective for determining the malignant potential of liver masses and should be the procedure of choice. Our experience suggests that having a pathologist present in the radiology suite provides optimal patient care.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.