Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Use of percutaneous needle biopsy in the investigation of solitary pulmonary nodules.
  1. A R Penketh,
  2. A A Robinson,
  3. V Barker,
  4. C D Flower
  1. East Anglian Regional Cardiothoracic Unit, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.


    Percutaneous needle biopsies were performed on 683 patients with solitary pulmonary nodules during 1976-84. A cytological diagnosis of malignancy was made from the first biopsy in 473 patients (69%). A second biopsy was performed in 43 patients, a diagnosis of malignancy being made in a further 16 cases (37%). Histological material was available for comparison with cytological findings in 203 patients. Cytological examination was reliable in the diagnosis of malignancy with a high yield (75%) and low false positive rate (1.5%). Specific benign lesions were correctly diagnosed in 10 patients (1.5%). There was a false negative rate for the diagnosis of malignancy of 18% for the patients with a subsequent histological diagnosis. This compares with a false negative rate of 9% overall; the true rate probably lies between these figures. These results imply that a cytology report indicating no evidence of malignancy, but not diagnostic of a specific benign condition, does not reliably exclude a malignant lesion. In this series cytological typing was not accurate at predicting the cell type determined by histological examination (61% agreement) and was not able to discriminate between small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.