(HealthDay News) — Surgical biopsy samples can be safely collected in patients with stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and can inform appropriate personalized therapy, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

David T. Cooke, M.D., from the University of California Davis in Sacramento, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed the clinical impact of thoracic surgical tissue biopsy and subsequent molecular analysis in 25 patients with known or suspected stage IV NSCLC (March 2011 to November 2012).

The researchers found that all cases had been discussed at a multidisciplinary thoracic oncology conference/clinic. Video-assisted thoracic surgery wedge biopsy (16 procedures), video-assisted thoracic surgery pleural biopsy (four), mediastinoscopy (two), supraclavicular/cervical lymph node excisional biopsy (three), and rib/chest wall resection (two) were all employed. Five postoperative complications were reported but no deaths. Surgery in 19 of the patients yielded targetable molecular information, which changed the treatment strategy in 14 patients. Ten patients were enrolled into therapeutic clinical trials.

“These data suggest that thoracic surgical biopsy can be safely performed in appropriately selected patients with stage IV NSCLC and direct personalized therapy and enrollment into relevant clinical trials,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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