AIM: To complete an audit of bone marrow trephine biopsy adequacy in children MATERIAL: 605 specimens from children with neuroblastoma submitted by 25 centres were reviewed centrally. This reassessment ran between January 1995 and August 1998. RESULTS: 25% of specimens (95% confidence interval (CI) 21% to 29%) were inadequate compared with 17% (95% CI 14% to 20%) in a previous study. Variation between individual centres' performance remains high (5-54% of specimens inadequate). Had five centres performed as well as previously, the inadequate biopsy rate would have been unchanged from that found in the previous study. There was no important improvement in any centre's performance. Earlier suggestions about change in practice have had no discernible impact on centres' ability to obtain adequate bone marrow trephine biopsies from children. CONCLUSIONS: The responsibility for improving the rate of adequate biopsies lies with individual centres. Reporting pathologists might help by making even more positive attempts to influence operators within their own centres.
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