OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to prospectively compare the adequacy of core needle biopsy specimens with the adequacy of specimens from resected tissue, the histologic reference standard, for mutational analysis of malignant tumors of the lung.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS - The first 18 patients enrolled in a phase 2 study of gefitinib for lung cancer in July 2004 through August 2005 underwent CT- or fluoroscopy-guided lung biopsy before the start of gefitinib therapy. Three weeks after gefitinib therapy, the patients underwent lung tumor resection. The results of EGFR and KRAS mutational analysis of the core needle biopsy specimens were compared with those of EGFR and KRAS mutational analysis of the surgical specimens.
RESULTS - Two specimens were unsatisfactory for mutational analysis. The results of mutational assay results of the other 16 specimens were the same as those of analysis of the surgical specimens obtained an average of 31 days after biopsy.
CONCLUSION - Biopsy with small (18- to 20-gauge) core needles can yield sufficient and reliable samples for mutational analysis. This technique is likely to become an important tool with the increasing use of pharmacotherapy based on the genetics of specific tumors in individual patients.