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Diagn Cytopathol. 2018 Feb;46(2):131-138. doi: 10.1002/dc.23862. Epub 2017 Nov 16.

Fine needle aspiration evaluation of pancreatic lymphoma: A retrospective study of 25 cases in a single institution.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.



Accurate diagnosis of pancreatic lymphoma is crucial for clinical management. We evaluate the role of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in the diagnosis of pancreatic lymphoma with the aid of flow cytometry and/or immunohistochemistry on the cell block.


Cases of pancreatic lymphoma were collected by searching our pathology laboratory information system over a period of 16 years. The clinical findings, cytologic features, and immunophenotypic results were reviewed. The diagnoses of FNA were correlated with surgical specimens in a subset of FNA cases.


A total of 25 FNA cases of pancreatic lymphoma were included. The most common type of pancreatic lymphoma was large B cell lymphoma followed by follicular lymphoma. With the aid of flow cytometry and immunohistochemical work-up on cell block, 72% (18/25) of the cases were diagnosed as lymphoma and 16% of the cases (4/25) were diagnosed as suspicious for lymphoma by FNA. Only two cases (8%) including one false negative and one nondiagnostic aspirate missed the lymphoma diagnosis and 1 case (4%) was indeterminate by FNA evaluation.


FNA demonstrated high accuracy in rendering diagnosis of pancreatic lymphoma. The overall sensitivity is 88% and the false negative and nondiagnostic rates are 4%, respectively. Further subtyping of certain lymphomas can be difficult due to the lack of architectural features of FNA specimens.


fine needle aspiration; flow cytometry; pancreatic lymphoma

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