Image guided biopsy may help patients avoid kidney removal

Image-guided kidney biopsy can diagnose benign kidney tumors and has a low rate of complications, says a new study by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

For the study, 407 image-guided kidney lesion biopsies were performed in 377 patients using either CT, ultrasound, or a combination of both to guide a small needle through the skin of the patient to take a sample of the lesion. The biopsies yielded malignant tissue in 239 of 407 cases, tissue suspicious for malignancy in 44 cases and various other benign or malignant tumors in 40 cases. Complications occurred in only 13 of the 407 biopsies, all of which the doctors were able to manage without serious after-affects to the patients.

"Kidney mass biopsy is likely to become increasingly important as the therapeutic options for renal cell cancer increase. Kidney biopsy may even guide chemotherapy in the future. The information about our substantial experience and good results with this procedure will be useful to kidney specialists from a variety of medical disciplines," said Anthony Samir, MD, lead author of the study.

According to the researchers, patients may benefit from renal biopsy by the prevention of unnecessary surgery. "Up to 20% of kidney removal surgeries for tumors smaller than four centimeters are for benign tumors that did not need to be removed. Our study demonstrates that it is safe to biopsy these tumors. Further work on the outcome of patients with negative biopsies is needed, but our initial results are encouraging." said Dr. Samir.

The full results of the study will be presented on Monday, May 1, 2006 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC.


Contact: Necoya Lightsey
American Roentgen Ray Society

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