Introduction: The role of EUS-guided FNA as a highly sensitive modality in the diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma is well documented. However, there is little published data on the role of EUS-FNA in diagnosing pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).
Objective: The aim of this study is to compare the sensitivity of EUS-FNA to that of CT-FNA for diagnosing pancreatic NETs.
Methods: This is a single institution retrospective analysis of the operating characteristics of EUS-FNA and CT-FNA in detecting pancreatic NETs. Only patients with a final diagnosis of pancreatic NET were selected for this study. Procedure related data, including tumor size and location, and presence of a cytotechnologist were recorded. The results of each FNA were compared to the final clinico-pathological diagnosis to calculate sensitivity.
Results: Twenty-eight patients undergoing FNA (19 by EUS, 9 by CT) were analyzed. NETs diagnosed by EUS-FNA were smaller compared with CT-FNA (2.7 ± 0.9cm vs. 6.5 ± 2.1cm, p = 0.009) and were more often found in the pancreatic head (47.4% vs. 11.1%, p = 0.035). There were no significant differences in sensitivity between EUS-FNA and CT-FNA specimens (73.7% vs. 88.9%, p = 0.33).
Conclusion: EUS-guided FNA is as sensitive as CT-guided FNA in diagnosing pancreatic NETs, but its main advantage is in the diagnosis of smaller pancreatic NETs in the head of the pancreas. It may also be the preferred approach in the diagnosis of multifocal pancreatic NETs in the setting of MEN I Syndrome.
Keywords: Computed Tomography; Endoscopic Ultrasound; Fine Needle Aspiration; Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor.