The Role of Transbronchial Needle Aspiration in the Diagnosis of Bronchogenic Carcinoma

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BACKGROUND: For many years in the United States transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) has been used with flexible bronchoscopy to diagnosis bronchogenic carcinoma, but very few data are available from the United Kingdom. METHODS: All bronchoscopies performed for suspected bronchial carcinoma at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom, over the last 3 years were reviewed retrospectively. Patients with peribronchial disease, as evidenced by submucosal infiltration or extrinsic compression on bronchoscopy, were selected for TBNA. Patients with computed tomography evidence of subcarinal lymphadenopathy were also included. In total we identified 78 patients: 67 with peribronchial disease and 21 with subcarinal lymphadenopathy. All 78 patients underwent TBNA, and in 8 of these TBNA was performed in 2 sites. RESULTS: Malignancy was confirmed in 66 of the 78 patients. TBNA was positive in 31/66 (47%) of the patients who had proven bronchogenic carcinoma. Additional staging information was obtained in 9/21 patients (42.8%) who underwent subcarinal lymph node aspiration. We also found that TBNA was diagnostic in 1 patient with tuberculosis and 1 with sarcoidosis. There was only 1 important TBNA complication, which was a small pneumothorax. CONCLUSION: In our preliminary experience with selected patients suspected to have bronchogenic carcinoma (based on peribronchial disease or subcarinal lymphadenopathy), we found TBNA a safe and useful tool.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Thoracic Oncology Unit, Papworth Hospital, Papworth Everard, Cambridge, CB3 8RE, United Kingdom;, Email: 2: Thoracic Oncology Unit, Papworth Hospital, Papworth Everard, Cambridge, United Kingdom 3: Department of Radiology, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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