Anton Becker

Anton Becker

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


  • Julian Müller
  • Anton Becker
  • Miroslav Balaz
  • Vissarion Efthymiou
  • Claudia Maushart
  • Gani Gashi
  • Edwin terVoert
  • Christian Wolfrum
  • Matthias Betz
  • Irene Burger

Submitted on 2019-10-14


To investigate transcutaneous core-needle biopsy of the supraclavicular fat as a minimally invasive and scar-free method of obtaining brown adipose tissue (BAT) samples.

Material and Methods

In a prospective clinical trial, 16 volunteers underwent biopsy on two separate occasions after FDG-PET had shown active BAT in the supraclavicular fossa with an FDG uptake (SUVmax) > 3 mg/dl. After identifying the ideal location for biopsy on FDG-PET/MRI, ultrasound-guided core-needle biopsy of supraclavicular fat with a 16G needle was performed under local anesthesia and aseptic conditions. Tissue samples were immediately shock-frozen in liquid nitrogen and processed for gene expression analysis of adipose tissue markers. Wounds were checked two weeks after the biopsy.


Tissue sampling was successful in 15 volunteers in both scans and in one very lean volunteer (BMI=19.9 kg/m2) in only one visit, without any reported adverse events. Therefore 31 tissue samples were available for further analysis. Gene expression could be analyzed with high success rate in 30 out of 31 tissue biopsies. The intervention was well tolerated with local anesthetics. None of the volunteers showed any scarring.


Ultrasound-guided core-needle biopsy of FDG-positive supraclavicular fat yields sufficient BAT samples for quantification of molecular markers. It may, however, be limited in extremely lean individuals with very little supraclavicular fat.

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