Fine needle aspiration biopsy for preoperative workup of pancreatic cystic neoplasms: Report of 4 cases

Nicolas Roustan Delatour, Maria Luisa C. Policarpio-Nicolas, Hossein Yazdi, Shahidul Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Cystic neoplasms of the pancreas comprise a pathologically heterogeneous group of lesions that usually present with similar, nonspecific clinical features. Based on the diagnosis, treatment varies from watchful observation of the lesion to total surgical resection of the pancreas. Therefore the importance of a precise and accurate diagnosis on fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy cannot be overemphasized from the patient management standpoint. There is debate regarding the accuracy of FNA diagnosis of cystic lesions of the pancreas. We report 4 cases and review the literature to explore and highlight the cytologic findings and diagnostic pitfalls that may help the cytopathologist accurately distinguish mucinous cystic neoplasm (MCN), intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN), serous cystadenoma (SCA) and ductal adenocarcinoma (DAC). Cases: We present 4 cases of patients with abdominal masses who underwent either computed tomography (CT)-guided or endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided FN A biopsy as preoperative workup. Based on the cytologic diagnosis, the patients underwent surgery. Conclusion: Our cases illustrate the cytologic criteria that help the cytopathologist distinguish among MCN, IPMN, SCA and DAC. Correlation with clinical and radiologic findings is strongly advocated for accurate diagnosis. We describe the diagnostic pitfalls frequently encountered in these cases and how to avoid them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-933
Number of pages9
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Aspiration biopsy, fine needle
  • Neoplasm, intraductal
  • Neoplasm, mucinous cystic
  • Pancreas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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