This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows:
To determine the diagnostic accuracy of fine-needle aspiration and core-needle biopsy for the diagnosis of tumours (neoplastic versus non-neoplastic) in major salivary glands.
To determine the diagnostic accuracy of fine-needle aspiration and core-needle biopsy for the diagnosis of malignant tumors in major salivary glands (i.e. the conditional probability that a lesion is malignant given that it is neoplastic).
To identify factors that may affect the diagnostic accuracy of fine-needle aspiration for the diagnosis of major salivary gland lesions.
There are many factors that could potentially affect the accuracy of the testing process. These include study-level factors (location, time period of study and setting: academic center versus community), disease spectrum (distribution of lesion types, distribution of glands), index test factors (too many to list), reference test factors and population factors (referral patterns, disease severity). While it is reasonable to suppose that any of these factors could affect FNAC test accuracy, there are few experimental data to guide the selection of factors for investigation. Also, in our experience, FNAC accuracy studies generally suffer from variable and incomplete reporting (Schmidt 2011; Schmidt 2011b). Thus, it is unlikely that studies would provide sufficient data to support an analysis of heterogeneity, even if a large number of studies were included. Thus, we do not expect that investigations of heterogeneity are likely to be feasible.