Findings Support Alternative Mesothelioma Biopsy Technique According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Oxford-based researchers say cutting-needle biopsy is a safe and effective alternative for patients too frail for thoracoscopy.

Biopsy Alternative for Mesothelioma Diangosis

Within this population, physician-based ultrasound-guided cutting-needle pleural biopsy obtains pleural tissue successfully in a high proportion of cases.

Scientists comparing two methods of obtaining pleural tissue for mesothelioma diagnosis say the less-invasive method may be a good option for certain patients. Details of the study have just been posted on Surviving Mesothelioma and can be read by clicking here.

Researchers at the Centre for Respiratory Medicine at Oxford University analyzed 50 ultrasound-guided cutting-needle biopsies performed at their center for suspected mesothelioma. Although a more invasive procedure called thoracoscopy produces a larger tissue sample, the team says the needle method may be better for mesothelioma patients with certain complications.

“[Thoracoscopy] is not always possible in frail patients, if pleural fluid is heavily loculated, or where the lung is adherent to the chest wall,” writes lead author Rob Halifax, MSc. “Such cases can be converted during the same procedure as attempted thoracoscopy to cutting-needle biopsy.”

The study, published in the journal Chest, found that 84.6% of samples taken with the cutting-needle method were sufficient to make a mesothelioma diagnosis, or to rule it out.

“These results should be reassuring for patients who aren’t candidates for thoracoscopy that they can still get a definitive diagnosis,” says Surviving Mesothelioma’s Managing Editor Alex Strauss. Tissue biopsy remains the only way to definitively diagnose mesothelioma.

For more on the new study and the two biopsy techniques, see Needle Biopsy an Effective Alternative for Some Mesothelioma Patients available now on the Surviving Mesothelioma website.

Halifax, RJ et al, “Physician-based ultrasound-guided biopsy for diagnosing pleural disease”, May 15, 2014, Chest, Epub ahead of print,

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

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