Background & Aims: There is no evidence of postoperative metastasis of gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) smaller than 2 cm. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical usefulness of endoscopic ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) for gastric subepithelial lesions (SELs) smaller than 2 cm.

Patients and methods: 
Using a prospectively maintained EUS-FNA database, 90 consecutive EUS-FNAs of gastric hypoechoic solid SELs smaller than 2 cm diagnosed by EUS were evaluated retrospectively. The reference standards for the final diagnosis were surgery (n=44) and/or clinical follow-up (n=46) using esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), CT, and/or ultrasonography (US). Additionally, immunophenotyping of specimens obtained by EUS-FNA and surgical resection specimens were compared.

 The diagnostic rate of EUS-FNA for gastric hypoechoic solid SELs smaller than 2 cm was 73% (66/90). Histological diagnosis of EUS-FNA showed 47 (52%) malignant SELs (44 GISTs, 1 glomus tumor, 1 SEL like cancer, and 1 malignant lymphoma), 19 (21%) benign SELs (14 leiomyomas, 4 ectopic pancreas, and 1 neurinoma), and 24 (27%) indeterminate SELs. In 44 surgically resected cases, the diagnostic accuracy of EUS-FNA using immunohistochemical analysis was 98% (43/44). There were no complications. Appropriate 5 out of 66 SELs (98%) diagnosed by definitive EUS-FNA. After surgery, there was no recurrence of malignant SELs.

EUS-FNA is an accurate and safe method in the pre-therapeutic diagnosis of gastric SELs smaller than 2 cm. EUS-FNA for gastric SELs smaller than 2 cm is a promising way to permit early management of patients with gastric SELs including GIST.

EGD: esophagogastroduodenoscopy; EUS: endoscopic ultrasonography; EUS-FNA:
endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration; GIST: gastrointestinal stromal tumor; HPF: high power field; SEL: subepithelial lesion; SMT: submucosal tumor.


EUS, FNA, GIST, SMT, subepithelial lesion, stomach, early diagnosis