Indeterminate diagnoses in EUS-guided FNA of the pancreas: analysis of cytologist and clinician perceptions, cytologic features, and clinical outcomes

Andrea M. Olofson, Anna Biernacka, Zhigang Li, Thanapoom Boonipat, Edward J. Gutmann, Kerrington D. Smith, Timothy B. Gardner, Stuart R. Gordon, Vijayalakshmi Padmanabhan, Jonathan D. Marotti, Xiaoying Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Indeterminate “atypical” or “suspicious for malignancy” diagnoses in the evaluation of pancreatic fine-needle aspiration (FNA) specimens can present challenges in the clinical management of patients with pancreatic masses. A main goal of this study was to identify, via survey, potential differences in perception between cytologists and clinicians with regard to the implications of, and factors contributing to, indeterminate diagnoses. We also evaluated clinical practice at our institution as it relates to such diagnoses and identified clinicopathologic features associated with indeterminate diagnoses, which allowed for correlation with survey results. Materials and Methods: Online surveys were sent to cytologists and clinicians to gather information on the respondents’ experiences with pancreatic endoscopic ultrasound-guided FNA and their perceptions about the indeterminate diagnostic categories. Cytological specimens and patient medical records were reviewed to collect data on specimen acquisition, cytological features, tumor characteristics, and patient management. Results: Survey responses revealed that cytologists and clinicians held similar perceptions of the clinical impact of the indeterminate categories but had dissimilar ideas on the factors contributing to these diagnoses. Statistically significant associations were identified between indeterminate diagnoses and the following variables: number of passes performed; adequacy on rapid on-site evaluation; repeat FNA procedures; lesions with cystic changes; and well-differentiated tumor cytomorphology. Conclusions: Awareness of the perceptions of cytologists and clinicians about, as well as the clinical features and cytologic variables associated with, “indeterminate” cases has the potential to improve patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-281
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Atypical
  • Indeterminate
  • Pancreas
  • Survey
  • Suspicious


Dive into the research topics of 'Indeterminate diagnoses in EUS-guided FNA of the pancreas: analysis of cytologist and clinician perceptions, cytologic features, and clinical outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this