Background. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound (US) in the study of superficial lymph nodes during the follow-up of patients surgically treated for skin tumours. The secondary objective was to compare positive cytological results with histological reports. Patients and methods. From 2004 to 2011, 480 patients (male/female: 285/195; median age 57 years; prevalent skin tumour: melanoma) underwent US-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) of suspicious recurrent lymph nodes. An expert radiologist first performed US testing of the lymph nodes, expressing either a negative or positive outcome of the test. Subsequently, US-guided FNAB was performed. FNAB positive patients were subjected to lymphadenectomy; the patients who tested negative underwent the follow-up. Results. The size of lymph nodes was = 2 cm in 90% of cases. Out of the 336 (70%) US "positive" patients, 231 (68.8%) were FNAB positives. Out of the 144 (30%) US "negatives", 132 (91.7%) were FNAB negatives. The sensitivity and specificity of the US were 95% and 55.7%, respectively; the negative predictive value was 91.7% and the positive predictive value was 68.8%. Definitive histological results confirmed FNAB positivity in 97.5% of lymphadenectomies. Conclusions. US is a sensitive method in the evaluation of superficial lymph nodes during the follow-up of patients with skin tumours. High positive predictive value of cytology was confirmed.
- Fine needle aspiration biopsy
- Skin tumours
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging