Comparing safety and adequacy between surgical biopsy versus core needle biopsy in diagnosing neuroblastoma


Adequate tissue biopsy is essential for diagnosis and risk stratification of neuroblastoma (NB). Historically, NB diagnosis has relied on tissue obtained via surgical biopsy. However, core needle biopsy may provide a safe and adequate method of obtaining tissue in pediatric patients.


The aim of this study is to compare the adequacy and safety between core needle biopsy and surgical biopsy for the diagnosis of NB in children at our institution.


Institutional approval was obtained. Medical records of patients diagnosed with NB from 2004 – 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients had either core needle biopsy (CNB) or surgical biopsy (SB) including open/minimally invasive biopsy. Data included patient demographics, tumor location and size, sample adequacy for diagnosis and risk stratification, post-biopsy complications, length of hospital stay, and need for repeat biopsy. Statistical analysis was conducted using the Mann-Whitney U test or Student’s t-test.


Thirty-eight patients were included; 53 biopsies were performed including 41 SB and 12 CNB. Patient and tumor characteristics were similar in both groups, as well as the biopsy adequacy for diagnosis and risk stratification. In all cases, there was no need for repeat biopsy. The CNB group demonstrated reduced length of stay (2 ± 0.4 days vs 5 ± 0.5 days; P < 0.0001) and fewer complications (8%) than the SB group (44%) (P = 0.038).

Lead Researchers

Link to Publication


  1. Kyle Cowan

    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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