Purpose: To retrospectively compare the sensitivity of image-guided core-needle biopsy, thoracoscopy, and thoracotomy in the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma and to retrospectively determine the incidence of needle track seeding after these procedures.
Materials and methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained, and informed consent was not required. The study included 100 consecutive patients (81 men, 19 women; average age, 65.8 years) with pathologically proved malignant pleural mesothelioma who were treated between 1994 and 2002. A total of 23 core-needle biopsies were performed in 22 patients, and 11 of these biopsies were coupled with fine-needle aspiration biopsy. A coaxial technique was used, and biopsy was performed with fluoroscopic (12 biopsies), computed tomographic (10 biopsies), or ultrasonographic (one biopsy) guidance. Sixty-nine patients underwent surgical biopsy in the form of thoracoscopy (n = 51) and/or thoracotomy (n = 21). Patients were followed up clinically for any evidence of needle track seeding after image-guided or surgical procedures. The sensitivity of diagnostic procedures and the incidence of needle track seeding as a result of intervention were calculated.
Results: Sensitivity was 86% for image-guided core-needle biopsy, 94% for thoracoscopy, and 100% for thoracotomy. The incidence of needle track seeding was 4% for image-guided core-needle biopsy and 22% for surgical biopsy.
Conclusion: Image-guided core-needle biopsy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma has a lower incidence of needle track seeding than surgical biopsy and has a high sensitivity for diagnosis.