Vertebral lesions, either primary or more frequently metastasis, are difficult targets for percutaneous guided biopsies and surgical biopsies and are associated with greater risks of complications. We investigated the feasibility of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy in the assessment of vertebral osteolytic tumors as an alternative to CT guided biopsy which is the technique currently used.
Four patients with osteolytic tumors of the vertebral bodies identified by imaging methods (CT or MRI) – 3 patients, and one with a tumor detected primarily during EUS procedure were included in order to evaluate the feasibility of the procedure. The lesions were located either at the dorsal or lumbar vertebrae. In all cases we performed EUS FNA of the osteolytic vertebral body lesions with 22G needles using the transesophageal or transgastric approach.
In all cases EUS FNA provided enough tissue for an accurate histopathological report, with no procedural complication. We diagnosed lung adenocarcinoma, hepatocarcinoma and a pancreatic adenocarcinoma vertebral metastasis and one case of lymphoma.
EUS FNA is a valuable technique which should be considered in selected cases, when a “traditional approach” is not applicable or associated with a higher risk. Treatment guidelines are based on the histology of the tumor, histopathological examination being nowadays mandatory. Therefore, we propose for selected cases a feasible technique, with significantly lower procedural risks, as an alternative for open surgical biopsies or computed tomography guided biopsies.