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Ultrasound guided cytological aspiration of supraclavicular lymph nodes in patients with suspected lung cancer

Abstract

Background: Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the UK. Pathological diagnosis traditionally requires invasive procedures such as bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, or image guided biopsy. Ultrasound of the neck with fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of enlarged but impalpable supraclavicular nodes has been used in patients with suspected lung cancer who have N2 or N3 disease on staging computed tomography (CT). If positive, this technique helps to both stage the patient and provide a cytological diagnosis.

Methods: 101 patients were enrolled prospectively over a 1 year period. FNAC was performed on all supraclavicular nodes over 5 mm in size using the capillary aspiration technique.

Results: Sixty one of the 101 patients had enlarged supraclavicular nodes and underwent FNAC. The overall malignant yield was 45.5% of patients scanned and 75.4% of patients sampled. As a result of FNAC, 43 patients (42.6%) avoided more invasive procedures.

Conclusion: Ultrasound guided FNAC is a promising, relatively non-invasive technique for the staging and diagnosis of patients with lung cancer.

  • lung cancer
  • lymph nodes
  • aspiration

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