Background/aims: To evaluate ultrasound-guided cutting biopsy for hepatocellular carcinoma, we report findings from 10 years of experience.
Methods: We performed 455 ultrasound-guided cutting biopsies of hepatic tumors in 420 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma from 1981 to 1990.
Results: Liver tissues were adequately sampled for a histological diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma in the initial biopsy in 391 sessions. The remaining 64 were proved to have hepatocellular carcinoma after subsequent studies. Ultrasound-guided biopsy changed the initial diagnosis in 9 of the 420 patients: three had been diagnosed with liver abscess, and six with metastatic liver tumors. Complications of the biopsy were rare: the tumor had spread to the chest wall in nine, and internal bleeding was noted in five patients. There was no mortality and no other sequelae.
Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided biopsy of hepatic tumors is important in the diagnosis of liver cancer, but this technique should be applied only when the image diagnosis and results of fine needle biopsy are equivocal to minimize possible complications. For patients with small HCCs, who are candidates for surgical resection of hepatocellular carcinoma or liver transplantation, it should not be considered as a first-step invasive procedure.