Background: Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive malignancy and a leading cause of cancer death worldwide; its lethality is partly linked to the difficulty of early diagnosis. Modern devices for endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle biopsy (EUS-FNB) were recently developed to improve targeting and sampling of small lesions, but innovative technologies for microscopic assessment are still lacking. Ex vivo fluorescence confocal laser microscopy (FCM) is a new digital tool for real-time microscopic assessment of fresh unfixed biological specimens, avoiding conventional histological slide preparation and potentially being highly appealing for EUS-FNB specimens. Methods: This study evaluated the possible role of FCM for immediate evaluation of pancreatic specimens from EUS-FNB. It involved comparison of the interobserver agreement between the new method and standard histological analysis during international multicenter sharing of digital images. Digital images from 25 cases of EUS-FNB obtained with real-time FCM technology and 25 paired digital whole-slide images from permanent conventional paraffin sections were observed by 10 pathologists from different Institutions in Europe, Japan, and the United States, in a blinded manner. The study evaluated 500 observations regarding adequacy, morphological clues, diagnostic categories, and final diagnosis. Findings: Statistical analysis showed substantial equivalence in the interobserver agreement among pathologists using the two techniques. There was also good inter-test agreement in determining sample adequacy and when assigning a diagnostic category. Among morphological features, nuclear enlargement was the most reproducible clue, with very good inter-test agreement. Interpretation: Findings in this study are from international multicenter digital sharing and are published here for the first time. Considering the advantages of FCM digital diagnostics in terms of reduced time and unaltered sample maintenance, the ex vivo confocal laser microscopy may effectively improve traditional EUS-FNB diagnostics, with significant implications for planning modern diagnostic workflow for pancreatic tumors. Funding: This study was not supported by any funding source.
New digital confocal laser microscopy may boost real-time evaluation of endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle biopsy (EUS-FNB) from solid pancreatic lesions: Data from an international multicenter study / Amendoeira, Isabel; Arcidiacono, Paolo Giorgio; Barizzi, Jessica; Capitanio, Arrigo; Cuatrecasas, Miriam; Di Matteo, Francesco Maria; Doglioni, Claudio; Fukushima, Noriyoshi; Fulciniti, Franco; Ginès, Angels; Giovannini, Marc; Zaibo, Li; Lopes, Joanne; Lujan, Giovanni; Parisi, Alice; Poizat, Flora; Reggiani Bonetti, Luca; Stigliano, Serena; Taffon, Chiara; Verri, Martina; Crescenzi, Anna. - In: EBIOMEDICINE. - ISSN 2352-3964. - 86:(2022), p. 104377. [10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104377]