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J Cytol. 2020 Jan-Mar;37(1):18-25. doi: 10.4103/JOC.JOC_191_18. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Evaluation of Accuracy of Milan System for Reporting Salivary Gland Cytology: Review of Morphology and Diagnostic Challenges in Each Category.

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Department of Pathology, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, Adichunchanagiri University, Mandya, Karnataka, India.



Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) in salivary gland lesions is challenging for the cytopathologists due to diverse morphological pattern and overlapping morphologic features which are responsible for the pitfalls. The present study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the Milan system in the diagnosis of salivary gland lesions and to discuss and review the morphology and diagnostic challenges in individual Milan categories.

Materials and Methods:

The study was a retrospective diagnostic analytical study in the department of pathology at a tertiary care hospital attached to medical college over a duration of 2 years. All the salivary gland FNAC cases were reviewed and divided into six categories as per the proposed Milan system for reporting salivary gland cytopathology. Histopathology correlation was performed wherever possible.


A total of 131 cases formed the study group. The number of cases in each category were: nondiagnostic 4.5%, nonneoplastic 51.9%, atypical lesions 0.76%, neoplastic category benign neoplasm 21.37%, salivary lesion of uncertain malignant potential 1.52%, suspicious category 2.29%, and malignant category 17.5%. The risk of malignancy for each categories were 6.25% (nonneoplastic), 100% (atypical), 3.3% (neoplastic), 0% (benign), 25% (salivary neoplasm of uncertain neoplastic potential), 100% (suspicious for malignancy), and 100% (malignant) categories. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of FNAC with application of Milan system was 89.4%, 100%, 100%, and 95.74%, respectively.


The high efficacy of FNAC obtained in the present study, when Milan system was applied, confirms the usefulness of this scheme in reporting salivary gland lesions.


Cytomorphology; diagnostic accuracy; fine-needle aspiration cytology; risk of malignancy; salivary gland

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