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Percutaneous Biopsy in Older Patients

February 8, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging
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Image-guided percutaneous biopsy is a safe and accurate procedure for patients 80 years and older, but the results don’t always lead to treatment, according to a new Mayo Clinic study. The findings appear in the January issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

Looking at data from nearly 14,000 cases, researchers compared image-guided biopsy results of 722 elderly patients with those of the remaining 13,012 patients under 80 years old. The use of biopsy results for treatment were also evaluated against a randomly-selected group of younger patients who were matched for type and location of biopsy. Findings showed a high accuracy for both groups (95 percent for the elderly patients vs. 96.5 percent for the younger group). For patients whose biopsies showed cancer, whether or not they went through with treatment varied substantially with age: Every single one of the patients aged 60 to 70 had treatment, compared to 95 percent of those aged 70 to 80 and 58 percent of those 80 years and older.

In reviewing the study, Sharon Gonzales, MD, noted that the slightly lower accuracy rate seen in the elderly group may be because the older patients had a higher percentage of lung and lymph node biopsies, which tend to be less accurate. Also, older patients often go without treatment because of other serious conditions, or because they choose a better quality of life over aggressive cancer therapies, Gonzales said in her review.

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