Short article: Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of portal vein thrombosis in patients with chronic liver disease and suspicion of hepatocellular carcinoma

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Abstract

Background

Differentiation between benign and malignant portal vein thrombosis (PVT) in the setting of a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is of paramount importance. Histological analysis is usually not carried out because of potential severe side effects of the percutaneous approach. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) may be safer and may guide the clinical management of patients with HCC.

Objective

To describe the feasibility of the EUS-FNA in a series of patients with HCC and PVT.

Materials and methods

A chart review of patients with PVT was performed from 2014 to 2016 in three tertiary care hospitals of Spain. Patients with chronic liver disease and PVT with a suspicion of HCC referred for EUS-FNA were included. The impact of the EUS-FNA was assessed by comparing staging following the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer algorithm (BCLC) before and after EUS-FNA.

Results

Of 104 patients with PVT and chronic liver disease, 23 were considered candidates for EUS-FNA. Eight patients were referred for EUS-FNA. The technique was feasible in seven patients and FNA was positive in six patients. No side effects were reported. EUS-FNA upstaged six out of seven (85.7%) patients: one patient BCLC stage B, two patients BCLC stage A, and three patients in whom the HCC was not diagnosed before EUS-FNA of the PVT. A benign PVT was found in the explant of the only patient with a negative PVT.

Conclusion

EUS-FNA is a valuable technique in selected patients with chronic liver disease with PVT. It is feasible, safe, and may alter the clinical management in these patients.

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