OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to report the sensitivity, cytological diagnoses, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) features, complications, clinical impact, and long term follow-up of a large single-center experience with endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) of benign and malignant solid liver lesions. METHODS: A database of cytologic specimens from EUS-FNA was reviewed to identify all hepatic lesions aspirated between January, 1997, and July, 2002. Procedural indications, prior radiographic data, patient demographics, EUS examination results, complications, and follow-up data were obtained and recorded. RESULTS: EUS-FNA of 77 liver lesions in 77 patients was performed without complications. Of these 77 lesions, 45 (58%) were diagnostic for malignancy, 25 (33%) were benign, and seven (9%) were nondiagnostic. A total of 22 lesions were confirmed as negative for malignancy by follow-up (mean 762 days, range 512-1556 days) or intraoperative examination; however, seven lesions could not be classified as benign or malignant. Depending on the status of the seven unclassified lesions, sensitivity of EUS-FNA for the diagnosis of malignancy ranged from 82 to 94%. When compared with benign lesions, EUS features predictive of malignant hepatic masses were the presence of regular outer margins (60% vs 27%; p = 0.02) and the detection of two or more lesions (38% vs 9%; p = 0.03). Of the 42 patients with malignancy identified by EUS-FNA and other available imaging records, EUS detected the malignancy in 41% of patients with previously negative examinations. For the 45 subjects with cytology positive for malignancy, EUS-FNA changed management in 86% of subjects. CONCLUSION: EUS-FNA of the liver is a safe and sensitive procedure that can have a significant impact on patient management. Prospective studies comparing the accuracy and complication rate of EUS-FNA and percutaneous fine needle aspiration (P-FNA) for the diagnosis of liver tumors are needed.
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