Purpose: To compare the results obtained with three different techniques for percutaneous transhepatic intraductal biopsy.
Materials and methods: Eighty-eight patients with obstructive jaundice underwent placement of percutaneous biliary drainage catheters for biliary decompression. As part of the initial procedure or at a subsequent date, intraductal biliary biopsy (n = 109) was performed with use of one or more of three techniques including cytologic brush (n = 53), clamshell forceps under choledochoscopic guidance (n = 31), and clamshell forceps under fluoroscopic guidance (n = 25).
Results: Forty-eight patients (55%) had a final diagnosis of malignant disease, and 40 (45%) had a diagnosis of benign disease. One hundred six (97%) biopsy procedures yielded technically adequate specimens. No complications directly related to the biopsy procedures occurred. Overall sensitivity and specificity for each biopsy technique were 26% and 96% for the cytologic brush technique, 30% and 88% for the clamshell forceps under fluoroscopic guidance technique, and 44% and 100% for the clamshell forceps under choledochoscopic guidance technique, respectively. The sensitivities of the biopsy techniques for pancreatic carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, respectively, were 47% and 0% for brush; 75% and 0% for fluoroscopic clamshell; and 100% and 27% for choledochoscopic clamshell.
Conclusion: The choledochoscope-directed biopsy technique had the greatest sensitivity and specificity of the three techniques evaluated, but this difference was not statistically significant versus the brush or fluoroscopic clamshell technique (P > .10). The sensitivity of all three techniques for pancreatic carcinoma was significantly greater than that for cholangiocarcinoma. Multiple biopsies did not increase the overall sensitivity of intraductal biliary biopsy as a diagnostic technique. All three techniques proved to be safe and easy to perform.