The value of fine-needle aspiration cytology in salivary gland lesions, 1994-2004
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Objective: Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of the salivary gland is a commonly accepted, sensitive and specific technique in the diagnosis of both neoplastic and nonneoplastic lesions of the salivary gland. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of FNAC of salivary gland lesions and to decide whether the radiologist could perform it or not. Methods: We aspirated 162 salivary gland lesions of 56 patients undergoing biopsy and excision. A cytopathologist and a surgical pathologist made histopathological and cytological examinations in a blinded fashion. Results: In the present study, among the FNAC performed in 162 patients with salivary gland masses, 15 (9%) were inadequate, and the remaining 147 were diagnostic. Of the 162 cases, 56 (35%) were also checked histologically. With FNAC there were 89 (55%) nonneoplastic and 58 (36%) neoplastic lesions. With FNAC 45 of the neoplastic lesions were benign and 13 malignant tumors. When cytohistopathological correlation was performed, the overall accuracy in diagnosing benign and malignant lesions was 91 and 78%, respectively, except for 2 malignant lymphoma cases. The sensitivity and specificity for benign and malignant lesions were 72 and 100%, respectively. The diagnostic sensitivity for all neoplastic and nonneoplastic lesions was 84% and the specificity 92%. There was 1 false-positive result, in which a nonneoplastic lesion was misdiagnosed as a Warthin's tumor. Fifteen (26%) cases were false-negative, 12 of which were undefined. Conclusion: FNAC is a useful and reliable tool in the diagnosis of salivary gland masses when performed by a radiologist or a clinician. There are no contraindications, and complications are minimal.