Background: Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration is recommended for lymph node (LN) staging in lung cancer. Although 22-gauge needles are widely used, they may make some stations difficult to puncture owing to an acute angle. A thinner 25-gauge needle was introduced in Japan at the end of 2016 and offered structural advantages such as improved flexibility and penetrability. We aimed to validate the clinical utility of the 25-gauge needle in LN staging. Methods: Patients who underwent endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration for LN staging of lung cancer using the 25-gauge needle at our institution between November 2016 and March 2019 were included. Patient characteristics, staging procedures, pathology findings, and genetic testing success rates were assessed. Results: Data of 130 patients were included in the analysis. The sampling rate was 87.6% (589/672 lesions). In addition to stations #4R, #7, and #11, which are generally easy to puncture, multiple stations (40.1%) were sampled. The diagnostic accuracy of combined computed tomography and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography was 82.3% and that of additional endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration was 96.9%. The overall sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values validated using resected specimens were 97.1% (34/35), 100% (41/41), 100% (34/34), and 97.6% (41/42), respectively. The success rate of genetic testing was 100% (34/34). Conclusions: The new 25-gauge needle enabled us to approach a wide range of LNs with a desirable sampling rate and diagnostic accuracy in LN staging using endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration, while providing enough tissue for genetic testing.
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