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How to use… lymph node biopsy in paediatrics
  1. Sarah Farndon1,2,
  2. Sam Behjati1,3,
  3. Nico Jonas4,
  4. Boo Messahel3
  1. 1 Cancer Genome Project, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2 Developmental Biology and Cancer Programme, University College London, Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Paediatric Haematology/Oncology, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  4. 4 Department of ENT, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah Farndon, Cancer Genome Project, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire CB10 1SA, UK; sarah.farndon{at}


Lymphadenopathy is a common finding in children. It often causes anxiety among parents and healthcare professionals because it can be a sign of cancer. There is limited high-quality evidence to guide clinicians as to which children should be referred for lymph node biopsy. The gold standard method for evaluating lymphadenopathy of unknown cause is an excision biopsy. In this Interpretation, we discuss the use of lymph node biopsy in children.

  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • core biopsy

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  • Contributors The Archives of diseases in Childhood commissioned this article. SJF performed the literature search and wrote the article. Article reviewed and edited by SB, BM and NJ. BM and NJ codirected this work.

  • Funding SJF receives funding from Children with Cancer UK. SB receives funding from the Wellcome Trust and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

  • Competing interests BM is a consultant oncologist and has commissioned pathways for referral of children with cancer. SB is a section editor of ADC and has acted as the commissioning editor of previous versions of this paper.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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