Multi-Quadrant Biopsy Technique Improves Diagnostic Ability in Large Heterogeneous Renal Masses

J Urol. 2015 Oct;194(4):886-91. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.03.106. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Purpose: Percutaneous biopsy obtained from a single location is prone to sampling error in large heterogeneous renal masses, leading to nondiagnostic results or failure to detect poor prognostic features. We evaluated the accuracy of percutaneous biopsy for large renal masses using a modified multi-quadrant technique vs a standard biopsy technique.

Materials and methods: Clinical and pathological data for all patients with cT2 or greater renal masses who underwent percutaneous biopsy from 2009 to 2014 were reviewed. The multi-quadrant technique was defined as multiple core biopsies from at least 4 separate solid enhancing areas in the tumor. The incidence of nondiagnostic findings, sarcomatoid features and procedural complications was recorded, and concordance between biopsy specimens and nephrectomy pathology was compared.

Results: A total of 122 biopsies were performed for 117 tumors in 116 patients (46 using the standard biopsy technique and 76 using the multi-quadrant technique). Median tumor size was 10 cm (IQR 8-12). Biopsy was nondiagnostic in 5 of 46 (10.9%) standard and 0 of 76 (0%) multi-quadrant biopsies (p=0.007). Renal cell carcinoma was identified in 96 of 115 (82.0%) tumors and nonrenal cell carcinoma tumors were identified in 21 (18.0%). One complication occurred using the standard biopsy technique and no complications were reported using the multi-quadrant technique. Sarcomatoid features were present in 23 of 96 (23.9%) large renal cell carcinomas studied. Sensitivity for identifying sarcomatoid features was higher using the multi-quadrant technique compared to the standard biopsy technique at 13 of 15 (86.7%) vs 2 of 8 (25.0%) (p=0.0062).

Conclusions: The multi-quadrant percutaneous biopsy technique increases the ability to identify aggressive pathological features in large renal tumors and decreases nondiagnostic biopsy rates.

Keywords: biopsy; carcinoma; kidney neoplasms; metastasis; neoadjuvant therapy; renal cell.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods
  • Data Accuracy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies