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Sensitivity and specificity of methods of assessing the regional lymph nodes for evidence of metastasis in dogs and cats with solid tumors

Anke Langenbach VMD, DACVS1,2, Patricia M. McManus VMD, PhD, DACVP3, Mattie J. Hendrick VMD, DACVP4, Frances S. Shofer PhD5, and Karin U. Sorenmo CMV, DACVIM6
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 2 Present address is 9738 Swift Creek Ct, Fairfax Station, VA 22039.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Abstract

Objective—To determine sensitivity and specificity of physical examination, fine-needle aspiration, and needle core biopsy of the regional lymph nodes for evidence of metastasis in dogs and cats with solid tumors.

Design—Case series.

Animals—37 dogs and 7 cats.

Procedure—Regional lymph nodes were evaluated by means of physical examination (palpation), fineneedle aspiration, and needle core biopsy. Results were compared with results of histologic examination of the entire lymph node, the current standard.

Results—Tumors included 18 sarcomas, 16 carcinomas, 7 mast cell tumors, and 3 other tumors. Carcinomas were more likely to have metastasized to the regional lymph node (7/16 animals) than were sarcomas (2/18). Sensitivity and specificity of physical examination were 60 and 72%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of cytologic examination of fine-needle aspirates were 100 and 96%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of histologic examination of needle core biopsy specimens were 64 and 96%, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that fine-needle aspiration may be a sensitive and specific method of evaluating the regional lymph nodes in dogs and cats with solid tumors, because results correlated well with results of histologic examination of the entire lymph node. Physical examination alone was not a reliable method and should not be used to decide whether to aspirate or biopsy the regional lymph nodes. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1424—1428)

Abstract

Objective—To determine sensitivity and specificity of physical examination, fine-needle aspiration, and needle core biopsy of the regional lymph nodes for evidence of metastasis in dogs and cats with solid tumors.

Design—Case series.

Animals—37 dogs and 7 cats.

Procedure—Regional lymph nodes were evaluated by means of physical examination (palpation), fineneedle aspiration, and needle core biopsy. Results were compared with results of histologic examination of the entire lymph node, the current standard.

Results—Tumors included 18 sarcomas, 16 carcinomas, 7 mast cell tumors, and 3 other tumors. Carcinomas were more likely to have metastasized to the regional lymph node (7/16 animals) than were sarcomas (2/18). Sensitivity and specificity of physical examination were 60 and 72%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of cytologic examination of fine-needle aspirates were 100 and 96%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of histologic examination of needle core biopsy specimens were 64 and 96%, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that fine-needle aspiration may be a sensitive and specific method of evaluating the regional lymph nodes in dogs and cats with solid tumors, because results correlated well with results of histologic examination of the entire lymph node. Physical examination alone was not a reliable method and should not be used to decide whether to aspirate or biopsy the regional lymph nodes. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1424—1428)