Introduction: Masses of the head and neck comprise a variety of benign and malignant tumors and tumor-like conditions, which may present diagnostic challenges to the surgeon and pathologist as well. Fine needle aspiration cytology is considered to be a valuable diagnostic tool used for preoperative evaluation of various masses in the head and neck region. However, its role is quite controversial for salivary gland tumour evaluation. This study was aimed to evaluate salivary gland fine-needle aspiration cytology for sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic accuracy in our medical center.
Material and method: The present study included 58 patients with different salivary gland lesions who underwent preoperative fine-needle aspiration procedure followed by surgical procedure and histological examination. The cytological findings were compared with the final histological diagnosis and concordance assessed.
Results: Of the 58 cases with salivary gland lesions, most of them involved parotid gland (72.41%), 91.38% were neoplasms and 8.62% were non-neoplastic lesions. Out of 53 neoplasms, 39 were benign and 14 were malignant salivary gland tumors. The sensitivity and a specificity of fine-needle aspiration cytology in differentiation malignancies from benign lesions was 100% and 97.73% respectively. In some situations cytological features could not provide correct tumor characterization.
Conclusions: Fine-needle aspiration cytology is a simple and reliable technique for preoperative evaluation of salivary gland tumors with a high sensitivity diagnosis of malignant tumors, but a lower tumor type characterization. Due to the minimally invasive nature of the technique, fine-needle aspiration cytology offers valuable information for planning of subsequent therapeutic management.