Does needle biopsy encourage breast Ca spread?

November 1, 2004

Women who receive fine-needle aspiration (FNA) or large-gauge needle core biopsy of breast cancer tissue are about 50% more likely to have sentinel node metastases than women who undergo tumor removal, according to a recent prospective database study from California.

Women who receive fine-needle aspiration (FNA) or large-gauge needle core biopsy of breast cancer tissue are about 50% more likely to have sentinel node metastases than women who undergo tumor removal, according to a recent prospective database study from California.

Researchers included 663 women with a mean age of 58 years and a mean tumor size of 1.85 cm. Women biopsied using FNA were about 53% more likely and those receiving large-gauge needle core biopsy were about 48% more likely to have their cancer spread to lymph nodes than women receiving excision.

Researchers surmise that the increased rate of spread has something to do with mechanical disruption of the tumor. The findings could be significant if one considers that the spread of cancer to the sentinel node decreases a woman's survival and influences the type of treatment she receives.