Axillary lymph node core biopsy for breast cancer metastases - How many needle passes are enough?

E. J. Macaskill, C. A. Purdie, L. B. Jordan, D. Mclean, P. Whelehan, D. C. Brown, A. Evans

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    AIM: To determine the diagnostic yield of each of three core passes when sampling abnormal lymph nodes in patients presenting with breast cancer.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: All patients suspected of having breast cancer had axillary ultrasound as part of initial assessment. Radiologically abnormal nodes (cortical thickness >2.3 mm or round shape) were biopsied with three passes of a 22 mm throw 14 G core biopsy needle and sent for histopathology in separate numbered pots. Data were collected prospectively, and analysis performed on the data of 55 consecutive patients who had positive nodes on at least one core biopsy needle pass.

    RESULTS: Of 55 patients with a positive node on core biopsy, tumour was noted in all three cores taken in 39 (70.9%). Lymph node metastasis was detected in 45 (81.8%) first core biopsies. With the first two cores taken, positive results were detected in 53 of 55 cases (96.4%). In both cases where tumour was only found on a third core biopsy pass, no lymph node tissue was present in the first two biopsy passes.

    CONCLUSION: Two well-directed 14 G core biopsy samples from an abnormal axillary node are adequate for diagnosis of breast cancer metastasis. (C) 2011 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)417-419
    Number of pages3
    JournalClinical Radiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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