Skip to main content

12-06-2011 | Oral medicine | Article

FNAC is a useful tool in diagnosing malignant oral lesions


Free abstract

MedWire News: Use of fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) has a high specificity and sensitivity when compared with conventional histopathologic techniques to diagnose malignant oral lesions.

FNAC is a convenient and rapid technique for diagnosing malignancies. Patients can be seen on an outpatient basis with no need for anesthesia or hospitalization, and it is therefore efficient from both a cost and clinician's time perspective.

While FNAC is regularly used to diagnose several head-and-neck malignancies, such as those of the salivary glands and thyroid, it is not commonly used for the detection of malignant oral lesions.

Sumir Gandhi (Christian Dental College & Hospital, Amritsar, India) and colleagues compared the use of FNAC and conventional histopathology in 45 patients with oral lesions.

All patients (26 male) required incisional or excisional biopsies for diagnosis and/or treatment, which occurred 2 to 7 days following FNAC. One case was excluded from the analysis as insufficient material for diagnosis was obtained during FNAC.

The number of cases identified by FNAC and histopathology were 22 and 21 for benign, 15 and 16 for malignant and 7 and 7 for inflammatory lesions, respectively. Therefore one result was false negative; there were no false positive results.

Therefore, the specificity and sensitivity of FNAC in patients with oral lesions were 95.45% and 93.75%, respectively. FNAC gave a diagnostic accuracy of 90% for benign lesions, 94% for malignant lesions, and 100% for inflammatory lesions.

From these results, published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Gandhi and colleagues conclude: "The procedure does not have any side effects or complications. Hence FNAC can be used as a reliable diagnostic aid for oral lesions because it is safe, accurate, convenient, and cost-effective."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Iain Bartlett

Related topics