High-content biopsies facilitate molecular analyses and do not increase complication rates in patients with advanced solid tumors

Nathan E. Frenk, Laura Spring, Alona Muzikansky, Harshna V. Vadvala, Joseph M. Gurski, Laura E. Henderson, Mari Mino-Kenudson, Amy Ly, Aditya Bardia, Dianne Finkelstein, Jeffrey Engelman, Peter R. Mueller, Dejan Juric, Ralph Weissleder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose Precision oncology relies on frequent pathologic, molecular, and genomic assessments of tumor tissue to guide treatment selection, evaluate pharmacodynamic effects of novel agents, and determine drug resistance mechanisms. Newer forms of analyses such as drug screens in cell lines and patient-derived xenografts demand increasing amounts of tissue material. It remains unknown how the need for serial biopsies with large numbers of tumor cores relates to tissue yields and biopsy complication rates. Materials and Methods In this study, we performed a retrospective analysis of 199 focal liver biopsies performed in143patients in the setting of oncologic research protocols (research biopsy group) over a 4-year period at a single-intervention oncology service. Practice patterns and complication rates were compared with those related to 1,522 consecutive biopsies performed in 1,154 patients in whom two cores were obtained for standard clinical management of patients (standard biopsy). Results In the research biopsy group, 1,100 tissue cores (average, 5.5 cores per procedure) were harvested and distributed to trial sponsors, internal research laboratories, and pathology services. The complication rate in this cohort was 0.5% for major complications (one of 199) and 1.0% for minor complications managed conservatively (two of 199). In the standard biopsy control group, major complications were observed in1.4% of procedures (22 of 1,522) and minor complications in 0.2% (three of 1,522). These complication rates were not statistically different. Conclusion Harvesting extra tissue cores through coaxial needles during focal liver biopsies does not increase complication rates and yields valuable tissue for additional experimental testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJCO Precision Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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