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Value and Diagnostic Accuracy of Ultrasound-Guided Full Core Needle Biopsy in the Diagnosis of Lymphadenopathy: A Retrospective Evaluation of 793 Cases.

OBJECTIVES: Whole surgical lymph node excision (SNE) is considered the standard diagnostic method in the primary diagnosis of lymphadenopathy (LA) suspected of malignancy. Ultrasound-guided full core needle biopsy (UFCNB) offers an alternative method to SNE. This study examined the accuracy of UFCNB in the diagnosis of unexplained LA in 793 cases.

METHODS: From January 2006 to June 2015, a total of 793 cases of LA of unknown origin received a UFCNB. The lymph nodes were located peripherally (68%) or abdominally (32%). The final diagnoses from histopathologic examinations were non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 245), Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 53), solid nonlymphocytic lymph node metastases (n = 359), and benign LA (n = 136). The results of the biopsies were retrospectively evaluated with regard to sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy.

RESULTS: In the total collective of 793 biopsies, the sensitivity of UFCNB was 94.4%; the specificity was 97.8%; and the diagnostic accuracy was 95.0%. In the subgroups, the following results were obtained: non-Hodgkin lymphoma (sensitivity, 97.2%), Hodgkin lymphoma (sensitivity, 88.7%), metastases (sensitivity, 93.3%), and benign LA (specificity, 97.8%). In 17 cases (2.2%), an additional rebiopsy of the lymph node was needed, and in 85 cases (10.7%), an additional SNE was performed.

CONCLUSIONS: Due to the diagnostic accuracy of 95.0% in the total collective, UFCNB seems to be an alternative diagnostic procedure to the standard procedure of SNE for LA of unknown origin. A prospective comparative study to definitively clarify the diagnostic value of UFCNB compared to SNE in the unexplained LA is warranted.

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