Fine-needle aspiration cytology in the management of gynecologic oncology patients. Cancer treatment and research Layfield, L. J., Berek, J. S. 1994; 70: 1-13


Fine-needle aspiration cytology has received little attention by physicians involved in the care of gynecologic oncology patients. Concerns over diagnostic accuracy and complications such as rupture of cystic ovarian tumors with resultant tumor dissemination have limited the technique's utilization. Recent studies have shown the method to have a diagnostic accuracy (percent of neoplasms correctly categorized as benign or malignant) of approximately 95% for ovarian tumors [2-8]. The method is generally free of major complication when patients are properly selected, but severe pelvic infections have followed transvaginal or transrectal puncture of cystic ovarian neoplasms, resulting in a complication rate of about 1.6% [28]. Presently, FNA of ovarian tumors has a role in the workup of cystic lesions in young women where epithelial malignancies are unlikely and preservation of ovarian function is highly desirable. In peri- or postmenopausal women with adnexal masses, operative intervention is appropriate in most cases. Sevin and colleagues defined four clinical situations where FNA is useful [16]. These are 1) workup of primary neoplasms, 2) biopsy of superficial masses in patients with known prior disease, 3) follow-up of irradiated patients, and 4) follow-up of patients undergoing chemotherapy. From the available data, FNA has an accuracy of approximately 90% [10,18] and a low complication rate. The technique is an excellent method for the detection of recurrent or metastatic disease in patients being followed for gynecologic malignancies. When FNA is used for the investigation of newly discovered adnexal masses, patient selection is critical. FNA is helpful in carefully selected young women with cystic ovarian masses. However, its utility is limited in peri- or postmenopausal women with solid and solid-cystic adnexal masses, because these should be investigated by operative intervention.

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