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J Clin Oncol. 1997 Apr;15(4):1439-43.

Endoscopic ultrasound-guided real-time fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the pancreas in cancer patients with pancreatic lesions.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, USA.



Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an important new tool in the staging of pancreatic malignancies. Using new curved linear-array instruments, real-time fine-needle aspiration biopsy (RTFNA) of pancreatic lesions can be performed.


Forty-five patients with pancreatic lesions (22 males and 23 females) underwent staging with the Olympus EUM-20 (Olympus America Corp, Melville, NY) followed by EUS-RTFNA with the Pentax FG-32PUA (Pentax-Precision Instrument Corp, Orangeburg, NY) and the 22-gauge GIP needle (GIP Medizin Technik, Grassau, Germany).


EUS tumor stages were as follows: TO, n = 1; T1, n = 8; T2, n = 9; and T3 n = 27. Aspiration attempts were unsuccessful in four patients (two technical failures and two inadequate specimens). The remaining 41 lesions (mean size, 3.3 cm) were aspirated under EUS guidance (median passes, three) and the cytologic diagnoses were 25 definite adenocarcinoma, five suspicious for adenocarcinoma (three subsequently confirmed and two clinical course consistent with adenocarcinoma), and 11 negative for malignancy. Of 11 negatives, two were found to have adenocarcinoma, seven were confirmed benign at surgery (four cystadenomas and three inflammatory), one had a benign pseudocyst, and one had abundant inflammatory cells on RTFNA and follow-up time greater than 12 months with computed tomographic (CT) scans consistent with resolving inflammation. There were no false-positive RTFNAs. There were no procedure-related complications. Among those with diagnostic EUS-RTFNA (91%), the sensitivity for malignancy (confirmed plus suspicious) was 94% and negative predictive value 82%.


EUS-guided RTFNA is a safe and accurate method for performing pancreatic biopsy. It should be considered in patients with suspected pancreatic malignancies in whom a tissue diagnosis is required or when other modalities have failed. EUS-RTFNA allows for local staging and tissue diagnosis in one procedure.

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