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Cytopathology. 2019 Mar;30(2):179-186. doi: 10.1111/cyt.12662. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Touch imprint cytology on endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle biopsy provides comparable sample quality and diagnostic yield to standard endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration specimens in the evaluation of solid pancreatic lesions.

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Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy Unit, The Pancreas Institute, G.B. Rossi University Hospital, Verona, Italy.
Digestive Endoscopy Unit, IRCCS, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli, Roma, Italy.
Department of Diagnostics and Public Health, G.B. Rossi University Hospital, Verona, Italy.
ARC-Net Research Centre, G.B. Rossi University Hospital, Verona, Italy.



Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) is the gold standard for the diagnosis of solid pancreatic lesions (SPLs). Cytological samples can also be obtained using touch imprint cytology (TIC) on EUS fine-needle biopsy (FNB) specimens. We aimed to compare sample quality and diagnostic yield of EUS-FNA-standard cytology (EUS-FNA-SC) to that of EUS-FNB-TIC in a series of patients with SPLs.


Thirty-two consecutive patients referred for EUS-tissue acquisition of SPLs who underwent rapid on-site evaluation of both EUS-FNA-SC and paired EUS-FNB-TIC during the same endoscopic session were retrospectively identified. Sample quality (evaluated in terms of blood contamination, presence of clots, tissue casts, cellularity, and necrosis) and diagnostic yield were compared between the techniques.


The mean number of passes to reach diagnosis at rapid on-site evaluation was similar between EUS-FNA-SC and EUS-FNB-TIC (1.09 ± 0.3 vs 1.13 ± 0.34, P = .711). EUS-FNA-SC scores of sample quality were comparable to those of EUS-FNB-TIC (blood contamination, 2.47 ± 1.11 vs 2.25 ± 1.14, P = .109; clots, 1.25 ± 0.76 vs 1.19 ± 0.69, P = .624; tissue casts, 3.56 ± 0.88 vs 3.59 ± 1.09, P = .872; cellularity, 2.84 ± 1.11 vs 3.09 ± 1.09, P = .244; necrosis, 2.25 ± 1.08 vs 2.53 ± 1.02 P = .059; total score, 12.38 ± 2.88 vs 17.66 ± 2.38, P = .536). Adequacy, sensitivity and diagnostic accuracy of the two sampling techniques were equal (93.7%, 90.6% and 90.6%, respectively).


EUS-FNB-TIC provides comparable samples to those of EUS-FNA-SC and combines the benefits of cytology and histology for the evaluation of SPLs by employing a single needle during the same endoscopic procedure.


endoscopic ultrasound; endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration; endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle biopsy; pancreatic cancer; rapid on-site evaluation; touch imprint cytology

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