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Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2003 Aug;23(4):314-8.

Correlation between fine needle aspiration biopsy and histologic findings in parotid masses. Personal experience.

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Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology, Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.


Pre-operative fine-needle aspiration biopsy findings have been compared with those of post-operative histopathology in 146 patients with parotid masses. Post-operative histology showed 124 benign and 22 malignant lesions: pre-operative fine-needle aspiration biopsy correctly identified 118/124 (95.1%) benign masses with an accurate classification of the tumour in 111/118 cases (94%). Fine-needle aspiration biopsy identified malignancy in 12/22 cases (>50%). In the remaining 7 cases (six benign lesions and one malignant), cytology was not diagnostic. There were no false positive cases. In the present study, the accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of cytologic findings were, respectively, 94%, 57.2% and 100%. The accuracy of fine-needle aspiration biopsy was seen to be higher in benign than in malignant lesions. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy represents a first choice diagnostic tool for the study of palpable head and neck masses excluding abscesses and vascular neoplasms. However, for a correct diagnosis, great skill is required and cytology does not always reach the sensitivity and specificity of post-operative histology. Therefore, in the presence of a palpable head and neck mass, resistant to medical treatment, surgery is still strongly indicated and cytology is very useful in planning the surgical approach.

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