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Cancer. 1993 Oct 15;72(8):2306-11.

Fine-needle aspiration of parotid masses.

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Division of Surgical Oncology B, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milano, Italy.



There is controversy concerning the utility of fine-needle aspiration in diagnosing parotid masses. Even studies on large series of patients have compared aspiration findings with the histology in much fewer cases.


Preoperative fine-needle aspiration findings were compared with the histopathologic diagnoses from surgically resected specimens in 246 patients presenting with and treated for parotid mass from 1980-1990.


Of 173 benign tumors, 159 (91.9%) were diagnosed correctly and 110 of 144 (> 60%) were typed. Of 36 malignant tumors, malignancy was recognized in 22 cases (61.1%). There were nine false-negatives, and in five cases, the specimen was unsatisfactory. The four cases of metastatic disease were correctly typed. Only two of seven lymphomas (28.6%) were identified. The cytologic and histologic diagnoses were concordant in all cases of nonneoplastic disease. Overall accuracy was 87%.


Fine-needle aspiration speeds up the diagnostic process and, with close cooperation between clinician and pathologist, the technique is a valuable adjunct to preoperative assessment in patients with parotid masses.

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