Ultrasound Guided Biopsy in Patients With HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Travis J. Haller, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Linda X. Yin, Christine M. Lohse, Dontre' Douse, Joseph N. Badaoui, Daniel L. Price, Jan L. Kasperbauer, Eric J. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To identify the differences in sensitivity and accuracy between ultrasound-guided and palpation-guided fine needle aspirations (FNA) of suspicious lymph nodes in patients with human papillomavirus (HPV) (+) oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Additional objectives included identifying patient specific factors affecting biopsy accuracy and evaluating potential differences in accuracy between fine and core needle biopsies. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study of diagnostic sensitivity was completed at a single tertiary care center between 1/1/2006–12/31/2016. Participants included patients who underwent pretreatment FNA biopsy with HPV(+)OPSCC confirmed pathologically following neck dissection or excisional lymph node biopsy. A true positive (TP) on FNA biopsy was defined as an FNA biopsy concerning for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) that was confirmed on excisional biopsy or neck dissection. A false negative (FN) was defined as a negative FNA but metastatic disease identified on excisional biopsy or neck dissection. Sensitivity was calculated as TPs/(TPs + FNs). Sensitivity was compared among techniques using chi-square and Fisher exact tests. Results: A total of 209 FNA biopsies among 198 patients were included in the study, including 31 (15%) palpation-guided FNAs, 160 (77%) ultrasound-guided FNAs, and 18 (9%) ultrasound-guided FNA + core biopsies. Sensitivity was significantly different among palpation-guided FNA, ultrasound-guided FNA, and ultrasound-guided FNA + core biopsies (48% vs. 83% vs. 94%, respectively; P <.001) but there was no significant difference in sensitivity between ultrasound-guided FNA versus ultrasound-guided FNA + core biopsies (P =.31). Conclusion: The use of ultrasound guidance in FNA biopsies of nodal metastases in HPV(+)OPSCC improves sensitivity compared to palpation guidance alone. Ultrasound guided biopsies are preferred in patients with suspected nodal metastasis from HPV(+)OPSCC. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 132:2396–2402, 2022.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2396-2402
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • biopsy
  • head and neck
  • human papillomavirus
  • human papillomavirus
  • oropharyngeal
  • palpation
  • squamous cell
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasound Guided Biopsy in Patients With HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this