Introduction: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is now established as a valuable imaging test for diagnosing and staging pancreatic cancer. But, with significant recent improvements in spiral CT scanners, particularly higher resolution and ability to reconstruct 3D images, spiral CT is now increasingly accepted as being better for pancreatic cancer staging. The debate continues, however, about the best diagnostic test or combination of tests in patients with suspected pancreatic cancer. Spiral CT is more readily available than EUS-FNA and, therefore, more frequently used. In this study, we evaluated the use of EUS-FNA in conjunction with spiral CT for suspected pancreatic cancer.
Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 81 consecutive patients who underwent EUS and EUS-FNA for clinical suspicion of a pancreatic cancer from November 2000 to November 2001. All patients had spiral CT with a multiphasic pancreatic protocol using multidetector spiral CT scanners. In all patients, EUS-FNA and spiral CT examinations were performed less than 3 wk apart.
Results: Overall, the accuracy of spiral CT, EUS, and EUS-FNA was 74% (n = 60/81, CI 63-83%), 94% (n = 76/81, CI 87-98%), and 88% (n = 73/81, CI 81-96%), respectively, for diagnosing pancreatic cancer. In patients without an identifiable mass on spiral CT, the diagnostic accuracy of EUS and EUS-FNA for pancreatic tumors was 92% (n = 23/25, CI 74-99%). Absence of a focal "mass" lesion on EUS reliably excluded pancreatic cancer irrespective of clinical presentation (NPV 100% n = 5/5, CI 48-100%). The negative predictive value of EUS-FNA was only 22% (n = 2/9, CI 3-60%) in patients with obstructive jaundice and biliary stricture. However, in patients without obstructive jaundice at initial presentation, EUS-FNA was highly accurate (accuracy 97%, n = 33/34, CI 85-100%) and was reliable for ruling out malignancy (NPV 89%, n = 8/9, CI 52-100%). Cytologic assessment of EUS-FNA specimens was 89% accurate for identifying malignancy in suspicious lesions visualized on EUS.
Conclusions: The EUS with FNA can be a valuable adjunct to newer high-resolution multidetector spiral CT for diagnostic evaluation of patients with suspected pancreatic cancer.