Percutaneous biopsy of lung nodules is established as a safe procedure with high diagnostic yield and accuracy. Its role in the diagnosis of subcentimeter nodules is, however, less clear. The goal of this study was to evaluate diagnostic yield, accuracy, and safety
of computed tomography (CT)-guided needle biopsy in the diagnosis of subcentimeter lung nodules.
Material and Methods:
A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database over a 12-year period identified 133 eligible CT-guided needle biopsies of lesions ≤1 cm. Diagnostic yield and accuracy for the diagnosis of malignancy were calculated. Lesion features and procedure characteristics were assessed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis to identify risk factors associated with biopsy failure and complications.
Biopsy specimens were adequate for diagnosis in 116/133(87%) cases; the diagnostic yield for malignant and benign lesions was 93% and 65%, respectively. Final benign diagnosis was the strongest independent risk factor for biopsy failure. In multivariate logistic regression, fine-needle aspiration was an independent risk factor for diagnostic failure. Core needle biopsy was an independent risk factor for pneumothorax, and core needle biopsy, number of passes, and age were independent risk factors for pneumothorax requiring tube drainage.
CT-guided percutaneous needle biopsy had high diagnostic yield for the diagnosis of subcentimeter lung nodules with a similar complication rate to biopsy of larger lesions. Fine-needle aspiration may be an independent factor for diagnostic failure even for malignant lesions.