Image-guided lymph node fine-needle aspiration: the Johns Hopkins Hospital experience.

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Although the diagnostic utility of lymph node fine-needle aspiration (FNA) is well established in the evaluation of metastatic malignancy, its value in the diagnosis of lymphoma is more controversial; yet, there is a growing trend among practitioners towards less-invasive procedures such as FNA and core needle biopsy (CNB). The guidelines recently published by the American Society for Clinical Pathology/College of American Pathology (CAP) regarding the workup of lymphoma include recommendations on the value and limitations of FNA.We reviewed 1237 image-guided lymph node aspirates from 695 procedures (410 nodes from 360 ultrasound [US]-guided cases, 799 from 309 endobronchial ultrasound [EBUS], 25 from 23 endoscopic ultrasound [EUS], and 3 from 3 computed tomography [CT]).The majority (40 of 46, 87%) of lymph nodes suspected of lymphomatous involvement were aspirated under ultrasound. Core needle biopsy [CNB] was obtained for 41 (89%) lymph nodes, including all 40 US specimens. Flow cytometry (FC) was performed on 37 (80%) aspirates; aspirates without FC were from patients who had a history of Hodgkin lymphoma, or showed granulomata or non-hematologic malignancy onsite. Thirty-one (67%) lymph nodes were sent for review by hematopathology. Forty-two (91%) lymph node FNA/CNB yielded actionable diagnoses. Seventeen of 241(7%) cases aspirated for other indications (14 US, 3 EBUS) were involved by a lymphoproliferative process. All were reviewed by hematopathology. All 14 US cases had FC and CNB.Our institutional approach towards lymph node cytopathology for lymphoma workup appears to be in accordance with the new CAP guidelines, and demonstrates a potential triage and workflow model for lymph node FNA specimens that allows for accurate diagnosis in cases where lymphoma is a consideration.

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Authors: Susan Shyu, Ankit Rajgariah, Carla Saoud, Nicholas Rogers, Syed Z Ali