Ultrasound for Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Ultrasound for Diagnosing Mesothelioma

A team of researchers in China analyzed the accuracy of a specific kind of ultrasound for diagnosing mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Even though it is a rare cancer, the global incidence of mesothelioma has been rising over the past decade worldwide.

One of the biggest challenges with mesothelioma is getting a definitive diagnosis. Mesothelioma diagnosis usually involves several tests. Patients may have imaging scans, blood tests, and a biopsy. By the time mesothelioma is finally diagnosed, it may already be too late for treatment to help.

Getting an Accurate Diagnosis

A biopsy involves examining a sample of tissue from a patient’s body to find out if they have a specific disease. A biopsy is the most important procedure for diagnosing mesothelioma.

The most common biopsy method to diagnose mesothelioma is a procedure called thoracoscopic pleural biopsy. However, this procedure can be expensive. It can also be invasive and distressing for the patient.

This new study looked at a less invasive method for diagnosing mesothelioma. This method is called ultrasound-guided percutaneous pleural needle biopsy (US-PPNB). This can be a better option for patients who are frail or otherwise poor candidates for more invasive procedures.

The researchers analyzed the patient records of 49 patients who received US-PPNB between 2014 and 2020. Only two patients experienced side effects, and both responded to treatment.

The researchers found that the diagnostic accuracy for mesothelioma with this method was 75.5%.

About 20% of the patients received a false-negative diagnosis. In other words, the biopsy showed that the patient did not have mesothelioma when they did have the disease. The researchers discovered that the size of the needle and the thickness of the lung membrane affect the accuracy of the biopsy.

The researchers concluded that US-PPNB is an acceptable option for diagnosing mesothelioma in frail patients who are in the late stage of the disease.


Zhang Y, Tang J, Zhou X, et al. Diagnostic ability and its influenced factors of ultrasound-guided percutaneous pleural needle biopsy diagnosis for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Front Surg. 2022;9:1022505. Published 2022 Sep 26. doi:10.3389/fsurg.2022.1022505

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