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J Clin Oncol. 1998 May;16(5):1909-15.

Emerging role of laparoscopy in the diagnosis of lymphoma.

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Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



The results of laparoscopic procedures on patients with suspected or known lymphoma were analyzed to review the application and define the role of laparoscopy in lymphoma.


The hospital records of 94 patients who underwent 101 procedures between June 1993 and October 1996 were reviewed for demographic and clinicopathologic information.


The procedure was diagnostic in 85 patients, either at primary presentation (48 patients), possible relapse (21 patients), in the course of treatment (eight patients), or of a liver lesion (eight patients). In the remaining 16 patients, it was used to stage possible intraabdominal disease. Twenty-seven patients had a previous unsuccessful diagnostic procedure. There were no operative deaths and eight postoperative complications (8%). The laparoscopy revealed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in 48 patients, Hodgkin's disease (HD) in 14 patients, other neoplastic conditions in six patients, and benign conditions in 33 patients. There was adequate information in all procedures in which lymphoma was diagnosed for treatment decisions. There was one false-negative and one nonresult for technical reasons. Ten patients commenced chemotherapy before discharge after a median delay of 3.5 days. In five of 24 patients (21%) with recurrent or persistent lymphoma, the precise diagnosis was significantly different from the original one.


From our experience, laparoscopy can safely provide tissue samples of suspected lymphoma for full diagnostic analysis. It should be considered when percutaneous biopsy is not technically possible, when chromosomal or genetic analysis is needed for treatment decisions, or when the results of percutaneous biopsy are inadequate to make therapeutic decisions.

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