Clinical outcomes as a function of the number of samples taken during stereotactic needle biopsies: a meta-analysis

Sanjay Dhawan, Andrew S. Venteicher, William E. Butler, Bob S. Carter, Clark C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Stereotactic needle biopsy remains the cornerstone for tissue diagnosis for tumors located in regions of the brain that are difficult to access through open surgery. Objective: We perform a meta-analysis of the literature to examine the relation between number of samples taken during biopsy and diagnostic yield, morbidity and mortality. Methods: We identified 2416 patients from 28 cohorts in studies published in PubMed database that studied stereotactic needle biopsies for tumor indications. Meta-analysis by proportions and meta-regression analyses were performed. Results: On meta-analysis, the morbidity profile of the published needle biopsy studies clustered into three groups: studies that performed < 3 samples (n = 8), 3–6 samples (n = 13), and > 6 samples during biopsy (n = 7). Pooled estimates for biopsy related morbidity were 4.3%, 16.3%, and 17% for studies reporting < 3, 3–6, and > 6 biopsy samples, respectively. While these morbidity estimates significantly differed (p < 0.001), the diagnostic yields reported for studies performing < 3 biopsies, 3–6 samples, and > 6 samples were comparable. Pooled estimates of diagnostic yield for these three groups were 90.4%, 93.8%, and 88.1%, respectively. Mortality did not significantly differ between studies reporting differing number of samples taken during biopsy. Conclusions: Our meta-analysis suggests that morbidity risk in needle biopsy is non-linearly associated with the number of samples taken. There was no association between the number of biopsies taken, and diagnostic yield or mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Biopsy
  • Brain tumor
  • Meta-analysis
  • Neurosurgery
  • Stereotactic

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review


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