Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the results of ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of pancreatic masses in a large multicenter series. Methods: This study collected the data of 510 patients who had a final diagnosis available and who had undergone ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of the pancreas. Retrieval rate, sensitivity, specificity, and overall diagnostic accuracy of the whole series, by three different bioptic procedures (cytology, histology, and cytology plus histology) were evaluated. The reliability of ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy to allow a correct diagnosis in the different pancreatic pathologies was calculated. Finally, any complications were collected. Results: For cytology, histology, and cytology plus histology, retrieval rate values were: 94%, 96%, and 97%; sensitivity was: 87%, 94%, and 94%, specificity: 100%; and diagnostic accuracy: 91%, 90%, and 95%, respectively. Ultrasound-guided fine-needle biopsy correctly diagnosed all the cases of pancreatic metastases or non- Hodgkin's lymphoma (23 of 510 cases as 5%; in eight of 23 it led to the first diagnosis of the primary tumor) and all the cases of abscesses, 97% of the cases of pseudocystes, 86% of pancreatic adenocarcinomas, 62% of cystic neoplasms, 35% of the cases of chronic pancreatitis (in this case, the bioptic procedures were reviewed), and 33% of neuroendocrine tumors. There were complications in one case of asymptomatic peripancreatic hematoma, three cases of vaso-vagal reactions, and 21 cases of pain. Conclusion: Ultrasound- guided fine needle biopsy of the pancreas is efficacious, without any difference between the various bioptic modalities (with the exception of chronic pancreatitis, in which histology is better). The technique is safe. Moreover, the procedure allows the identification of patients affected by pancreatic tumors other than adenocarcinoma (in our survey 5% of the total); in about one third of these patients it leads to the diagnosis of the primary tumor, thus avoiding inappropriate treatments.
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