Diagnostic evaluation of mediastinal lesions: Analysis of 144 cases

Lung India. 2017 Jul-Aug;34(4):341-348. doi: 10.4103/lungindia.lungindia_311_16.


Background: Mediastinum is a "Pandora's box" with many neoplastic and nonneoplastic lesions. The purpose of this study was to analyze our institutional experience of mediastinal lesions on fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and/or biopsy.

Materials and methods: This study was an analysis of 144 patients who had undergone ultrasound-guided FNAC and/or core biopsy for mediastinal lesions.

Results: A total of 144 cases of suspected mediastinal masses were seen, and in 139 cases, tissue diagnosis was attempted. Out of 139 cases, 93 cases were neoplastic in nature (67%), 32 were nonneoplastic (23%), and 14 remained inconclusive (10%). Among neoplastic mediastinal lesions, metastatic carcinoma (37.4%) was the most common neoplastic lesion, followed by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (12.2%), Hodgkin's lymphoma (7.1%), thymic lesions (3.5%), etc. Among nonneoplastic conditions, tuberculosis was the most common lesion (20.1%). An accurate tissue diagnosis was made in 89.9% cases by FNAC or core biopsy of mediastinal lesions in this study. Procedure-related mortality was nil. Complications were mostly minor and included chest pain in 24.5%, small pneumothorax in 13.6% requiring closed tube thoracostomy in 1.4%, and scanty hemoptysis in 9.3% cases.

Conclusion: Neoplastic mediastinal lesions are more common than nonneoplastic lesions, with metastatic carcinoma being the most common cause followed by tuberculosis. A wide variety of lesions observed in this study stress on the importance of cytohistological diagnosis in all cases of mediastinal lesions for the final diagnosis and management planning. A guided FNAC or core biopsy is still accurate, well tolerated, and devoid of major complications.