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J Surg Oncol. 2018 Dec;118(7):1170-1177. doi: 10.1002/jso.25241. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Success of genomic profiling of non-small cell lung cancer biopsies obtained by trans-thoracic percutaneous needle biopsy.

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Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Radiology, Guy's & St Thomas, NHS Foundation Trust & King's College, London, UK.
Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Medical Oncology, Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.



Genomic profiling for personalized targeted therapy has become standard of care. We report the success of genomic profiling of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) obtained by trans-thoracic needle biopsy (TTNB) in a single center experience.


Patients with NSCLC who underwent TTNB for genomic were identified. Pathology specimens were evaluated for tumor adequacy and then analyzed for selected exons of epidermal growth factor receptor, KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA, and ERBB2. ALK rearrangements were detected with fluorescence in situ hybridization and/or immunohistochemistry. Technical success was recorded and the factors affecting successful profiling were evaluated. Complications (pneumothorax, hemorrhage, and admission) were recorded. Comparison of yield and complications were done between the two groups (core biopsy and fine needle aspiration only group). Utility of PET-CT to guide the needle track for optimized yield was assessed in a subset of patients.


Between December 6, 2009, and December 30, 2016, 765 patients with NSCLC underwent TTNB. Five-hundred and seventy-seven of 765 (75%) of all TTNB were profiled, for genomic analysis. Five-hundred and eight of 577 (88%) were successfully profiled. The number of samples obtained ranged from 1 to 10 (1 to 2 cm, 18 to 20 G). Lesions biopsied ranged in size from 0.6 to 16 cm. No statistically significant difference was observed in the incidence of pneumothorax between two groups (P = 0.26). PET guidance was not found to be statistically significant ( P = 0.79) in the overall yield.


Computed tomographic guided TTNB is a safe and efficacious technique for genomic profiling, enables the acquisition of sufficient tissue for genetic mutation analyses allowing for personalized therapy with an acceptable complication rate.


genomic profiling; lung cancer; mutation analysis; trans-thoracic needle biopsy; transthoracic needle biopsy

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