The diagnosis of lymphoproliferative disorders (LPDs) is based on histological evaluation of representative tissue samples. Despite surgical excision biopsies (SEBs) are reference procedures for such diagnoses, lymph node core needle biopsies (LNCBs) are increasingly performed. The diagnostic yield of LNCB is, however, debated and few studies have compared the reproducibility of LNCB and SEB findings.
To address the diagnostic value of LNCB and SEB, the present study considered a retrospective series of 43 paired LNCB/SEB samples. After histological revision, concordance rates between matched LNCB/SEB samples were evaluated, assuming SEB as gold standard procedure. The actionability of LNCB and SEB-based diagnoses (i.e., relevance for planning further medical interventions) was also assessed.
Overall, LNCB provided actionable diagnoses in 39/43 (90.7%) cases, but a consistent subset of them (7/39 [17.9%]) turned out to be wrong at SEB. The cumulative diagnostic inaccuracy of LNCB (i.e., inadequate samples plus wrong diagnoses) was 25.6% and the mean diagnostic delay in such cases was 54.2 days.
Although limited by selection biases due to its retrospective nature, this study highlights the intrinsic limitations of LNCB for the diagnosis of LPDs. SEB remains the gold standard procedure and should be performed in all suitable cases.

© 2023 The Authors. International Journal of Laboratory Hematology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.