Virchow's node revisited: Analysis with clinicopathologic correlation of 152 fine-needle aspiration biopsies of supraclavicular lymph nodes

J. R. Cervin, J. F. Silverman, B. W. Loggie, K. R. Geisinger

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55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective. - The left supraclavicular lymph node (Virchow's node) may be involved by metastatic malignancies, including those of abdominal or pelvic origin. Almost all previous studies have been based on examination of surgically sampled tissue or postmortem examination. To our knowledge, there has not been a study for nearly 40 years addressing the metastatic pattern to the left supraclavicular lymph node. Furthermore, there has been no study comparing left with right supraclavicular lymph node metastasis or the utilization of fine-needle aspiration biopsy to sample these sites. Design. - A retrospective review of 152 fine-needle aspiration biopsies of supraclavicular lymph nodes was performed, and the neoplasms were grouped into six diagnostic categories from five primary regions. Results. - The patients ranged in age from 2 years to 94 years (average, 55 years) and consisted of 66 males and 83 females. Three patients were biopsied twice. Of the 152 fine-needle aspirations, 87 (57.2%) were of the left supraclavicular lymph node and 65 (42.8%) of the right supraclavicular lymph node. Of the 96 biopsies positive for malignancy, 58 (60.4%) were biopsies of the left and 38 (39.6%) were of the right supraclavicular lymph nodes. Sixteen of 19 pelvic tumors and all six primary abdominal malignancies metastasized to the left supraclavicular lymph node. Thorax, breast, and head and neck malignancies showed no differences in metastatic patterns to the right and left supraclavicular lymph nodes. Ten patients (10.4% of positive nodes) had a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, or Hodgkin's disease. Six patients (7.1% of positive nodes) had a metastasis of unknown primary site, and 19 cases (19.8%) had acute or chronic inflammation; seven of the latter cases demonstrated acid-fast bacilli in the aspirated smears. Conclusions. - Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is an excellent initial procedure in the workup of an enlarged supraclavicular lymph node. Our study confirmed that malignancies originating in the pelvis or abdomen were significantly more likely to metastasize to the left supraclavicular lymph node and that the primary site and types of malignancies that involved the left supraclavicular lymph node were different from those involving the right supraclavicular lymph node.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-730
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Volume119
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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