Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of mediastinal masses allows for rapid on-site evaluation and the triaging of material for ancillary studies. However, surgical pathology is often considered to be the gold standard for diagnosis. This study examines the sensitivity and specificity of FNAC compared to a concurrent or subsequent surgical pathology specimen in 77 mediastinal lesions. The overall sensitivity for mediastinal mass FNAC was 78% and the overall specificity was 98%. For individual categories the sensitivity and specificity of FNAC was respectively as follows: inflammatory/infectious (33%, 99%), metastatic carcinoma (93%, 100%), lymphoma (84%, 97%), cysts (25%, 100%), soft tissue tumors (100%, 100%), paraganglioma (50%, 100%), germ cell tumor (100%, 99%), thymoma (87%, 94%), thymic carcinoma (60%, 100%), benign thymus (0%, 100%), and indeterminate (100%, 90%). For different locations within the mediastinum the sensitivity and specificity of FNAC was respectively as follows: anterosuperior mediastinum (80%, 98%), posterior mediastinum (33%, 95%), middle mediastinum (100%, 100%), and mediastinum, NOS (79%, 99%). Thus, mediastinal FNAC is fairly sensitive, very specific, and is a valuable technique in the diagnosis of mediastinal masses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine