Department of Pathology, Haydarpasa Numune Education and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.
The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the diagnostic yield and accuracy of stereotactic biopsy in patients harboring brain mass. Stereotactic biopsy was performed in 130 patients between 1995 and 2000 in an educational and research hospital in Turkey. The results of histological analysis were compared to the resected specimens in 23 patients. The lesions were lobar in 62% of cases and deep-seated in 38% of cases. During the biopsy procedures, the pathologist was in the operating theatre and a very small fragment was used for cytological examination. No frozen section was used in any of the cases. Samples were diagnostic in 122 cases. The overall diagnostic yield of the procedure was 94%. A definitive histological diagnosis was not made in eight patients. The histological diagnoses of the two procedures were identical (complete agreement) in 16 cases. In three cases, the histological diagnoses between the two procedures were slightly different without impact on patient care (minor disagreement). The diagnosis of the stereotactic biopsy was completely changed after craniotomy in four cases (major disagreement). The accuracy of the histological diagnosis was 83%. There was only one major complication, which involved intracerebral hemorrhage. Despite the limited number of patients who underwent resection, our data suggest that stereotactic biopsy of brain masses is a safe and accurate technique that can obtain adequate tissue for histological diagnosis, thus providing the best avaible treatment for patients. Cytological evaluation of the streotactic biopsy also is a highly effective tool for obtaining sufficient material during the procedure in many cases.