Sensitivity of Cytology in the Diagnosis of Paediatric Malignancies in Nigeria

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Background: Prompt and accurate diagnosis of solid malignant childhood neoplasms requires ancillary diagnostic techniques to supplement clinical acumen. This study aims to assess the role and sensitivity of Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) as a tool to meet these needs in a developing country like Nigeria. Materials and Methods: Primary working diagnosis and cytological reports for all solid malignant neoplasms in children over a 4-year period were extracted from archives. These were then compared with histological diagnosis and/or response to therapy and clinical versus cytological sensitivity calculated. Results: Clinical sensitivity for head/neck vs. abdominal cavity malignancies was (83% vs. 46%) compared with cytological sensitivity (100% vs. 90%). Cytological positive predictive value for malignancy at all sites was 100%. Conclusion: This study concludes that FNAC should be included in the routine investigation of these tumours in view of its high sensitivity and positive predictive value for malignancy.

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