The effectiveness of the Milan system for risk stratification of salivary gland lesions: The 10-year cytohistopathological correlation results of salivary gland FNA cytology at a tertiary center

Diagn Cytopathol. 2021 Aug;49(8):928-937. doi: 10.1002/dc.24768. Epub 2021 May 19.


Background: The Milan system reporting salivary gland cytopathology (MSRSGC) is a tiered classification scheme that is based on risk stratification. The aim of the current study was to assess the risk of malignancy (ROM) and risk of neoplasia (RON) in each of the diagnostic categories proposed by the MSRSGC.

Methods: A retrospective analysis and categorization according to the MSRSGC was made of salivary gland fine needle aspirations (FNA) performed from January 2007 to December 2017. The FNA cytology results were correlated with subsequent histological follow-up.

Results: A total of 578 FNAs were evaluated and histopathology was available for 198 cases (34.2%). The RON and ROM for individual diagnostic categories were: Non-diagnostic: 52.2% to 13%, non-neoplastic: 21.4% to 10.7%, atypia of undetermined significance: 74% to 22.2%, benign neoplasm: 100% to 1.1%, salivary gland neoplasm of uncertain malignant potential: 93.3% to 53.3%, suspicious for malignancy (SFM): 100% to 100%, and malignant: 100% to 100%. A diagnosis of 'SFM' or 'malignant' with FNA cytology carried a 100% risk for malignancy, while a diagnosis of "non-neoplastic," "benign neoplasm" reduced the probability of malignancy to 3.4%.

Conclusion: The MSRSGC is useful for the management of salivary gland lesions as it can successfully differentiate between benign and malignant cases. It will bring uniformity in salivary gland FNA cytology reporting across various institutions globally.

Keywords: Milan system for reporting cytopathology (MSRSGC); fine needle aspiration (FNA); risk of malignancy (ROM); risk of neoplasia (RON); salivary gland.