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Is needle biopsy of the liver necessary to diagnose HCC ?
  1. F CETTA,
  3. A DE NISI
  1. Institute of Surgical Clinics, University of Siena, Italy
  1. Professor F Cetta, Institute of Surgical Clinics-University of Siena, Nuovo Policlinico-Viale Bracci-53100, Siena, Italy.cetta{at}

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Editor,—Schotman and colleagues (OpenUrlPubMedWeb of Science) reported a patient with subcutaneous seeding of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after percutaneous needle biopsy together with a review of 14 similar cases and correctly outlined the necessity for a critical evaluation of the role of needle biopsy in resectable HCC.1-4

We agree with their conclusion, namely that: (i) a needle biopsy may be indicated only if it is not possible to diagnose HCC by other means (namely increased α fetoprotein (AFP) concentrations, spiral computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging); in these cases, a single pass with a large needle (18 gauge) may be preferable to multiple passes with smaller calibre needles; (ii) needle …

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