Differential diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in brush cytology specimens

Bernard E M Van Driel, Thomas M. Van Gulik, Patrick D J Sturm, G. Johan A Offerhaus, Dirk J. Gouma, Cornelis J F Van Noorden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Discrimination between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic carcinoma can be complicated, particularly in brush cytology specimens. Previous studies have shown that the oxygen insensitivity of the histochemical reaction to detect glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity based on neotetrazolium reduction can be used for discriminating malignant cells from nonmalignant cells. In the present study, we investigated the value of the assay for differential diagnosis between the two pancreatic diseases. Oxygen insensitivity in ductal epithelial cells in normal human pancreas, chronic pancretitis, and pancreatic carcinoma was determined by quantitative image analysis in sections of biopsies and in brush cytology preparations. In sections, the reaction in the absence of oxygen was a proper reflection of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity, whereas in the presence of oxygen only malignant cells showed a significant reaction. Of 39 brush cytology specimens, diagnosis of all 11 cases of pancreatitis and 28 cases of cancer with the oxygen insensitivity test were in agreement with independent measures of chronic pancreatitis and cancer. The oxygen insensitivity test is a simple and valuable tool in addition to conventional pathology for differential diagnosis between pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, both in biopsies and in brush cytology specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5732-5736
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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