Objective: To determine the contribution of percutaneous cutting needle biopsy (PNB) subsequent to fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in the diagnosis of chest lesions.
Design: A retrospective review of 220 patients who underwent CT-guided FNA followed immediately by PNB performed at our center between 1988 and 1995 was undertaken. Thirty-eight patients were excluded because FNA and/or PNB specimens were nondiagnostic, yielding a study group of 182 patients.
Results: A diagnosis of malignancy was made in 141 (77.5%) and nonmalignancy in 41 (22.5%) cases. The yield of histospecific diagnosis due to FNA was marginally higher than PNB in malignant lesions (86.5% vs 78%, respectively). In contrast, PNB was superior to FNA for the histospecific diagnosis of benign lesions (87.8% for PNB vs 31.7% for FNA, p<0.00001) and lymphomas (88% for PNB vs 56% for FNA, p<0.05). In 58.8% of the patients with benign lesions and in 37.5% of the patients with lymphoma, PNB performances altered clinical management, either by avoiding further surgery or allowing specific medical treatment. Pneumothorax occurred in 24.7% of the cases but only five patients (2.7%) required hospitalization.
Conclusion: PNB is extremely effective for making a specific diagnosis in benign lesions compared with FNA. PNB does not increase the yield of histospecific diagnosis for malignant lesions except for the subset of lymphoma, where it seems to provide important additional information in many instances. We recommend that FNA be performed as the initial procedure, followed by PNB in cases of equivocal diagnosis of carcinoma, for lymphoma and for suspected benign lesions.