Gut 46:244-249 doi:10.1136/gut.46.2.244
  • Pancreas

Value of endoscopic ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsy in the diagnosis of solid pancreatic masses


AIM To assess the feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of endoscopic ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy (EUS-FNAB) in patients with solid pancreatic masses.

METHODS Ninety nine consecutive patients with pancreatic masses were studied. Histological findings obtained by EUS-FNAB were compared with the final diagnosis assessed by surgery, biopsy of other tumour site or at postmortem examination, or by using a combination of clinical course, imaging features, and tumour markers.

RESULTS EUS-FNAB was feasible in 90 patients (adenocarcinomas, n = 59; neuroendocrine tumours, n = 15; various neoplasms, n = 6; pancreatitis, n = 10), and analysable material was obtained in 73. Tumour size (⩾ or < 25 mm in diameter) did not influence the ability to obtain informative biopsy samples. Diagnostic accuracy was 74.4% (adenocarcinomas, 81.4%; neuroendocrine tumours, 46.7%; other lesions, 75%; p<0.02). Overall, the diagnostic yield in all 99 patients was 68%. Successful biopsies were performed in six patients with portal hypertension. Minor complications (moderate bleeding or pain) occurred in 5% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS EUS-FNAB is a useful and safe method for the investigation of pancreatic masses, with a high feasibility rate even when lesions are small. Overall diagnostic accuracy of EUS-FNAB seems to depend on the tumour type.


  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    endoscopic ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsy
    computed tomography