Fine needle aspiration biopsy diagnosis of mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Statistical analysis

Acta Cytol. 1990 Jan-Feb;34(1):43-9.


Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is an increasingly popular method for the evaluation of salivary gland tumors. Of the common salivary gland tumors, mucoepidermoid carcinoma is probably the most difficult to diagnose accurately by this means. A series of 96 FNA biopsy specimens of salivary gland masses, including 34 mucoepidermoid carcinomas, 51 other benign and malignant neoplasms, 7 nonneoplastic lesions and 4 normal salivary glands, were analyzed in order to identify the most useful criteria for diagnosing mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Thirteen cytologic criteria were evaluated in the FNA specimens, and a stepwise logistic regression analysis was performed. The three cytologic features selected as most predictive of mucoepidermoid carcinoma were intermediate cells, squamous cells and overlapping epithelial groups. Using these three features together, the sensitivity and specificity of accurately diagnosing mucoepidermoid carcinoma were 97% and 100%, respectively.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Nucleolus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Foam Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Mucins / metabolism
  • Necrosis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure


  • Mucins