Reliability of grading preoperative pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors on EUS specimens: a systematic review with meta-analysis of aggregate and individual data

      Background and Aims

      Therapy and prognosis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) are strictly related to the Ki-67 index, which defines tumor grading. The criterion standard for the assessment of grading of PanNETs is EUS-guided FNA (EUS-FBAFNA) or EUS-guided fine-needle biopsy sampling (EUS-FNB). Because data on diagnostic accuracy of EUS-FNA and EUS-FNB are heterogeneous, we aimed to analyze the variability in concordance between EUS grading and surgical grading.


      The MEDLINE, SCOPUS, and EMBASE databases were searched until November 2021 to identify studies reporting the concordance rate between EUS grading and surgical grading. The study was conducted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Pooled events were calculated using a random-effects model and expressed in terms of pooled prevalence rates. A multivariate meta-regression was performed to find possible sources of heterogeneity. Where available, individual data were analyzed.


      Twenty-six studies with 864 patients undergone EUS-FNA or EUS-FNB and surgical resection for PanNETs were included. The pooled estimate rate for the overall concordance of EUS grading and surgical grading was 80.3% (95% confidence interval, 75.6-85.1). Undergrading (EUS grading < surgical grading) was significantly more frequent with respect to overgrading (14.7% vs 3.5%, P < .001). Individual data analysis showed that among nonconcordant patients, the median Ki-67 difference was 3% (interquartile range, 2-6.15). The type of World Health Organization classification adopted and the median lesion diameter were significantly associated with heterogeneity at meta-regression.


      EUS is an accurate technique in defining grading in patients with PanNETs, but a margin of error still exists, which should be the focus of future studies to minimize the risk of over- and/or undertreatment.


      EUS-FNB (EUS-guided fine-needle biopsy sampling), PanNET (pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor), WHO (World Health Organization)
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