Increased diagnostic yield of endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspirates with flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry


  • Author contributions: Study concept and design: Willingham; Acquisition of data: Sodikoff, Johnson, Lewis, Garud, Bharmal, and Willingham; Analysis and interpretation of data: Sodikoff, Johnson, Lewis, Garud, and Willingham; Drafting of manuscript: Sodikoff, Johnson, Lewis, and Willingham; Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Johnson, Lewis, Garud, Bharmal, Keilin, Siddiqui, Cai, and Willingham; Administrative, technical, or material support: Willingham.


Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) is the most sensitive and specific test for establishing a tissue diagnosis for many gastrointestinal malignancies; however, cytologic morphology alone may not be definitive for subsets of tumors. Our aim was to quantify the impact of the broad application of flow cytometry (FC) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) on EUS-FNA diagnostic yield.

A retrospective chart review was performed on EUS procedures at a tertiary referral, academic medical center. All EUS-FNA cases performed over a 21-month period were examined.

Of 606 EUS procedures reviewed during the period of study, 264 utilized FNA. After pancreatic cyst cases were excluded, 235 EUS-FNA cases for 221 patients were selected for analysis. For cases with subsequent histological evaluation, including the subset utilizing FC/IHC, the sensitivity of EUS-FNA was 89%, specificity was 100%, and accuracy was 91%. One quarter (58/235, 25%) of the tissue specimens underwent further testing by FC/IHC. There were 48 definitive diagnoses made in the subset utilizing FC/IHC. In 20 of the 48 diagnoses (42%), FC/IHC was deemed critical to the diagnosis, and without FC/IHC testing in those cases, the overall sensitivity and accuracy of EUS-FNA would be reduced to 74 and 77%, respectively. FC/IHC allowed for six diagnoses rarely or not previously described by EUS-FNA.

Application of FC/IHC improves characterization predominantly for nonadenocarcinoma tumor subtypes and may lead to a diagnostic result for tumors not previously characterized by EUS-FNA. With an adequate tissue sample, broad application of FC/IHC increases the diagnostic yield of EUS-FNA. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2013;41:1043–1051. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.