We evaluated the value of CT-guided transthoracic core biopsy for the diagnosis of mycobacterial pulmonary nodules. The 30 subjects in this study had pulmonary nodules that had been either diagnosed histopathologically as tuberculosis or were suspected as tuberculosis based on a specimen obtained by CT-guided transthoracic core biopsy. The histopathological findings, the existence of acid-fast bacilli in the biopsy specimens, and the clinical course of the patients after the biopsy were reviewed retrospectively. Two of the three histological findings for tuberculosis that included epithelioid cells, multinucleated giant cells and caseous necrosis were observed in 21 of the nodules which were therefore diagnosed as histological tuberculosis. Six of these 21 nodules were positive for acid-fast bacilli, confirming the diagnosis of tuberculosis. Thirteen of the 21 nodules did not contain acid-fast bacilli but decreased in size in response to antituberculous treatment and were therefore diagnosed as clinical tuberculosis. Seven nodules with only caseous necrosis were diagnosed as suspected tuberculosis, with a final diagnosis of tuberculosis being made in 4 of the nodules and a diagnosis of old tuberculosis in 2 nodules. Two nodules with only multinucleated giant cells were diagnosed as suspected tuberculosis with 1 of these nodules being diagnosed finally as tuberculosis and the other nodule as a nonspecific granuloma. When any two of the three following histopathological findings--epithelioid cells, multinucleated giant cells or caseous necrosis--are observed in a specimen obtained by CT-guided transthoracic core biopsy, the diagnosis of tuberculosis can be established without the detection of acid-fast bacilli or Mycobacterium tuberculosis.