Article Abstract

CT-guided transthoracic core needle biopsy for small pulmonary lesions: diagnostic performance and adequacy for molecular testing

Authors: Panwen Tian, Ye Wang, Lei Li, Yongzhao Zhou, Wenxin Luo, Weimin Li


Background: Computed tomography (CT)-guided transthoracic needle biopsy is a well-established, minimally invasive diagnostic tool for pulmonary lesions. Few large studies have been conducted on the diagnostic performance and adequacy for molecular testing of transthoracic core needle biopsy (TCNB) for small pulmonary lesions.
Methods: This study included CT-guided TCNB with 18-gauge cutting needles in 560 consecutive patients with small (≤3 cm) pulmonary lesions from January 2012 to January 2015. There were 323 males and 237 females, aged 51.8±12.7 years. The size of the pulmonary lesions was 1.8±0.6 cm. The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy and complications of the biopsies were investigated. The risk factors of diagnostic failure were assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses. The sample’s adequacy for molecular testing of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was analyzed.
Results: The overall sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for diagnosis of malignancy were 92.0% (311/338), 98.6% (219/222), and 94.6% (530/560), respectively. The incidence of bleeding complications was 22.9% (128/560), and the incidence of pneumothorax was 10.4% (58/560). Logistic multivariate regression analysis showed that the independent risk factors for diagnostic failure were a lesion size ≤1 cm [odds ratio (OR), 3.95; P=0.007], lower lobe lesions (OR, 2.83; P=0.001), and pneumothorax (OR, 1.98; P=0.004). Genetic analysis was successfully performed on 95.45% (168/176) of specimens diagnosed as NSCLC. At least 96.8% of samples with two or more passes from a lesion were sufficient for molecular testing.
Conclusions: The diagnostic yield of small pulmonary lesions by CT-guided TCNB is high, and the procedure is relatively safe. A lesion size ≤1 cm, lower lobe lesions, and pneumothorax are independent risk factors for biopsy diagnostic failure. TCNB specimens could provide adequate tissues for molecular testing.