Lack of tumor seeding of hepatocellular carcinoma after percutaneous needle biopsy using coaxial cutting needle technique

Katherine E. Maturen, Hanh V. Nghiem, Jorge A. Marrero, Hero K. Hussain, Ellen G. Higgins, Giovanna A. Fox, Isaac R. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The objective of our study was to determine the incidence of tumor seeding after biopsy of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using a coaxial cutting needle technique. Seeding along the needle track is a dreaded complication of percutaneous biopsy in patients with HCC, particularly in potential liver transplant recipients. Reported seeding rates range from 0.6% to 5.1% using various biopsy techniques. To our knowledge, the rate of seeding using a coaxial cutting needle technique has not been reported. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Retrospective review identified 128 patients with imaging-guided percutaneous liver biopsies positive for HCC. A coaxial cutting needle technique was uniformly used with a 17-gauge introducer and 18-gauge biopsy needle. Radiology and clinical reports were reviewed, and findings at clinical and imaging follow-up were assessed. RESULTS. During the 6-year study period, 1,012 liver mass biopsies were performed, with 128 positive for HCC (100 men and 28 women; average age, 58.4 years). One hundred one patients had more than 30 days of clinical or imaging follow-up (or both) after biopsy (mean, 410 days; range, 33-1,989 days) and constituted the study population. The remaining 27 were excluded because of inadequate follow-up. No suspected or confirmed tumor seeding on imaging, physical examination, or laparotomy was identified. CONCLUSION. We found no tumor seeding after percutaneous biopsy of HCC using a coaxial cutting needle technique. This rate, 0%, is lower than those reported with other techniques. The use of a needle introducer that remains in position during multiple cutting needle passes protects normal tissue along the track and may reduce seeding. This has particular importance for patients with stage I-II HCC, for whom liver transplantation may be curative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1187
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006


  • Abdominal imaging
  • Biopsy
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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