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Clin Imaging. 2005 Mar-Apr;29(2):123-7.

Efficacy of CT-guided percutaneous needle biopsy in the diagnosis of malignant lymphoma at first presentation.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico IRCCS, Via Pedemontana Occ.le 12, Aviano 33081, Italy.



The aim of this study was to evaluate retrospectively the accuracy and reliability of CT-guided percutaneous biopsy as an alternative to surgical biopsy in a selected population of patients without superficial enlarged lymph nodes and a final diagnosis of malignant lymphoma at first presentation.


The results of 145 CT-guided needle biopsies in 137 patients with malignant lymphoma at its first presentation and without superficial enlarged lymph nodes were analyzed retrospectively. Biopsies were performed in 24 patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD) and 113 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Factors such as patient's sex, age, type of lymphoma and biopsy site were evaluated to detect factors that could influence the success rate of the procedure.


Biopsy specimens were diagnostic in 101 of the 113 patients with NHL and in 18 of the 24 patients with HD. Repeating of a previously nondiagnostic biopsy was successful in 7 out of 13 patients with NHL. No positive results were obtained, repeating the inconclusive biopsy in six patients with HD.


Our results suggest that percutaneous CT-guided biopsy is a useful and reliable tool in the diagnosis and classification of malignant lymphomas in patients without superficial lymphadenopathy and can be considered as an alternative to surgical sampling. However, little advantages were obtained, repeating previously inconclusive biopsies: In these cases, surgical sampling is mandatory.

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