Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration cytology of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours: cytomorphological and immunocytochemical evaluation

Cytopathology. 2006 Feb;17(1):10-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.2006.00311.x.


Objectives: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) is increasingly used in preoperative localization and diagnosis of pancreatic neoplasms including neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). The objective of the present study was to identify the cytological features of pancreatic NETs obtained by EUS-FNA.

Methods: The study group consisted of nine cases of pancreatic tumours correctly diagnosed or strongly suggestive of NETs based on EUS-FNA. Cytological smears were retrospectively reviewed. The clinical data and immunocytochemical stains applied to the cell block preparations were also reviewed and examined.

Results: All cases except one showed characteristic cytomorphological features sufficient for their recognition and separation from pancreatic adenocarcinoma and other lesions. The most helpful cytological features that facilitated the cytological diagnosis of NET were a richly cellular aspirate with a monotonous, poorly cohesive population of small cells with a speckled or dusty chromatin pattern and plasmacytoid morphology. The neuroendocrine differentiation of these tumours was further confirmed by immunocytochemistry.

Conclusion: EUS-FNA is a valuable method in the recognition of pancreatic NETs. By adherence to the characteristic cytomorphological criteria of pancreatic NET together with collection of suitable material for ancillary immunocytochemical stains, cytopathologists could reach a correct diagnosis in most instances.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endosonography / methods*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnosis*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome