Interventional Radiology - Original Article

Complications and diagnostic accuracy of CT-guided 18G tru-cut versus end-cut percutaneous core needle biopsy of solitary solid lung nodules


  • José Javier Echevarria-Uraga
  • Gorka del Cura-Allende
  • Karmele Armendariz-Tellitu
  • Cristina Berastegi-Santamaria
  • Mikel Egurrola-Izquierdo
  • Ane Anton-Ladislao

Received Date: 16.06.2020 Accepted Date: 13.11.2020 Diagn Interv Radiol 2022;28(1):58-64


Percutaneous biopsy has demonstrated high accuracy in diagnosis of lung nodules, but the technique is not innocuous and a yield decrease in lesions smaller than 20 mm has been reported. We carried out a prospective study to evaluate and compare the complications and efficacy of percutaneous core needle biopsy (CNB) of solitary solid lung nodules, which were performed with two types of automatic guns.


330 consecutive CT-guided CNB were included. Tru-cut or end-cut 18G devices were used alternatively. Nodules were categorized by their size: ≤10 mm, 11-20 mm and >20 mm. Incidence of complications such as pneumothorax or hemoptysis and factors influencing them (nodule size and depth within lung parenchyma) were evaluated. Diagnostic accuracy of CNB achieved in the three groups of nodules regarding the two different needles were calculated and statistically evaluated and compared.


We performed 68 CNB in nodules ≤10 mm, 130 in 11-20 mm and 132 in >20 mm. Pneumothorax appeared in 24.2% of them, but only 5.7% required drainage. Hemoptysis was developed in 9.4% and abundant hemoptysis with hypoxemia was observed in only 4.2% of patients. Regarding appearance of complications between the two needle types, no significant differences were found. A higher risk of hemoptysis was observed in nodules ≤10 mm (OR = 3.87; 95% CI = 1.24-12.06, P = 0.019) and in those located deeper in pulmonary parenchyma (OR = 2.21; 95% CI = 1.04-4.69, P = 0.038). End-cut needles reached a diagnostic accuracy of 93.7%, 92.1% and 98.3%, in nodules sized ≤10 mm, 11-20 mm and >20 mm, respectively. Corresponding results for tru-cut were 84.7%, 88.5% and 92.1%. In spite of differences reaching up to 9% in smaller nodules, intra-group results were not significant.


Both needles have similar complications rate. Despite not having observed statistically significant differences between the two types of needles, end-cut devices have demonstrated a higher diagnostic yield in the three groups of nodules and could be a more suitable option especially for CNB of nodules ≤10 mm.