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Diagn Cytopathol. 1996 Sep;15(3):185-90.

Fine-needle aspiration biopsy in the diagnosis of parotid gland lesions: evaluation of 438 biopsies.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Turku University Central Hospital, Finland.


The usefulness of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in the diagnosis and treatment of salivary gland lesions is still controversial. The 438 FNABs taken at the Turku University Central Hospital between 1984-1991 were reviewed. Of these FNABs, 218 had been confirmed histologically. Within this subset, 136 FNABs were taken from benign neoplasms, and of these, 103 were correct (sensitivity 76%, specificity 83%). Only 26 of the 47 FNABs from malignant lesions were cytologically considered to be malignant (sensitivity 55%) and 11 samples raised a false suspicion of malignancy (specificity 92%). Out of 35 FNABs from non-neoplastic lesions, 27 were correct (sensitivity 77%, specificity 80%). There were 175 patients (217 FNABs), who had not been operated on: the follow-up of these patients showed that false malignant and false benign findings were rare. FNAB was safe and no serious complications occurred. However, there was a delay in the treatment of six patients probably because of the physicians' limited understanding of the diagnostic role of FNAB. FNAB offers valuable information about the type of parotid lesion, but the clinician must know how to interpret the cytologic statement, and the decision to use operative and other treatment should not be based solely on the result of FNAB. Diagn Cytopathol 1996; 15:185-190.

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