What is the role of biopsy in the workup of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jun 05, 2020
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Transthoracic needle biopsy, guided by CT or fluoroscopy, is preferred for tumors located in the periphery of the lungs because peripheral tumors may not be accessible through a bronchoscope. A positive finding for cancer is reliable; however, the false-negative rate is high at 26%, and, thus, transthoracic biopsy is generally not useful in ruling out cancer.

Diagnostic material can also be obtained from other abnormal sites (eg, enlarged palpable lymph nodes, liver, pleural or pericardial effusions, accessible bone lesions).


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