Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB) in the Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Review

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth more common cause of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Despite advances in surgical and non surgical modalities in the treatment of HCC, a number of controversies regarding appropriate diagnostic procedures continue to evolve. A consensus statement from the European Association for the study of Liver Diseases (EASL) has been formulated to help clinicians standardize diagnostic approaches. In nodules greater than 2 cm diameter in size, diagnosis can be made if any 2 imaging studies (ultrasonography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or hepatic arteriography) show increased vascularity. Alternatively only one imaging study with an Alpha fetoprotein level more than 400ng/mL is diagnostic. Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) should be performed in cases of indeterminate radiology and in lesions sized between 1 and 2 cm. The aim of this review is to familiarize pathologists in the FNAB diagnosis of HCC in an appropriate and timely fashion.

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