Pancreatobiliary cytology in the multidisciplinary setting



R. Dina, Department of Cellular Pathology, Imperial College NHS Trust, London, UK

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This review article discusses the role of endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS FNA) cytology in the clinical management of patients with pancreatic tumours in the setting of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). The commonest diagnosis encountered is pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which is seldom diagnosed early enough for surgical resection. Thus, cytology is likely to be the only form of diagnosis in the majority of cases. Nevertheless, about half the lesions discussed at the MDT meeting are lesions other than primary adenocarcinoma and a wide differential diagnosis must be considered in order to identify tumours, including neuroendocrine tumours, that are amenable to surgical resection. Cytology is not always definitive and the diagnosis may be helped by categorizing results according to whether they are malignant, suspicious, atypical/indeterminate, benign or inadequate. Discussion at MDT meetings and correlation with clinical and imaging findings along with review of cytology slides may allow equivocal results to be clarified before treatment is decided. Inadequate cytology results are avoided by rapid on-site evaluation of slides; although this is cost-effective in terms of overall patient care, attendance of cytopathologists on-site may not be feasible. At Imperial College NHS Trust, specially trained biomedical scientists successfully carry out rapid on-site evaluation.