Diagnostic accuracy of endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration in patients with presumed pancreatic cancer

J Gastrointest Surg. 2003 Jan;7(1):118-128. doi: 10.1016/S1091-255X(02)00150-6.


Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of the pancreas allows the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to be established without exploratory surgery. We reviewed our recent experience with EUS-FNA in patients with presumed pancreatic cancer and report the diagnostic accuracy and complications of this procedure. Data were reviewed from all patients who presented with CT evidence of a pancreatic mass or a malignant biliary stricture and underwent EUS-FNA at our institution between November 1, 1999, and October 1, 2001. Based on the findings of contrast-enhanced, multislice CT scanning, patients were categorized as having resectable, locally advanced, or metastatic disease. EUS-FNA was performed in 233 patients. A final diagnosis of cancer was established in 216 patients (93%), 15 patients (6%) were found to have benign disease, and the final diagnosis remains unknown in two patients (1%). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of EUS-FNA for diagnosis of a pancreatic malignancy were 91%, 100%, and 92%, respectively. For the 216 patients subsequently proven to have cancer, the results of EUS-FNA were diagnostic in 197 (91%); 96 (90%) of 107 patients with resectable disease, 62 (97%) of 64 with locally advanced disease, and 39 (87%) of 45 with metastatic disease. Four patients (2%) developed a clinically apparent complication that required hospital admission, including two patients who required surgery for duodenal perforation. There were no EUS-related deaths. We conclude that EUS-FNA can safely and accurately establish a cytologic diagnosis in patients with both early-stage and advanced pancreatic cancer. This enables consideration of all treatment options including protocol-based therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle*
  • Endosonography*
  • Humans
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity