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Open Access Research article

Diagnostic value of endobronchial and endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration for accessible lung cancer lesions after non-diagnostic conventional techniques: a prospective study

Antonio Bugalho123*, Dalila Ferreira1, Ralf Eberhardt4, Sara S Dias5, Paula A Videira3, Felix J Herth4 and Luis Carreiro1

Author affiliations

1 Interventional Pulmonology Unit, Hospital Pulido Valente, Lisbon, Portugal

2 Interventional Pulmonology Unit, Hospital Beatriz Angelo, Av. Carlos Teixeira 3, Loures, 2674-514, Portugal

3 Chronic Diseases Research Center (CEDOC), Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

4 Department of Pneumology and Critical Care Medicine, Thoraxklinik, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

5 Departamento Universitário de Saúde Pública, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

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Citation and License

BMC Cancer 2013, 13:130  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-130

Published: 19 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Lung cancer diagnosis is usually achieved through a set of bronchoscopic techniques or computed tomography guided-transthoracic needle aspiration (CT-TTNA). However these procedures have a variable diagnostic yield and some patients remain without a definite diagnosis despite being submitted to an extensive workup. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and cost of linear endobronchial (EBUS) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) guided fine needle aspiration (FNA), performed with one echoendoscope, for the diagnosis of suspicious lung cancer lesions after failure of conventional procedures.

Methods

One hundred and twenty three patients with an undiagnosed but suspected malignant lung lesion (paratracheal, parabronchial, paraesophageal) or with a peripheral lesion and positron emission tomography positive mediastinal lymph nodes who had undergone at least one diagnostic flexible bronchoscopy or CT-TTNA attempt were submitted to EBUS and EUS-FNA. Patients with endobronchial lesions were excluded.

Results

Of the 123 patients, 88 had a pulmonary nodule/mass and 35 were selected based on mediastinal PET positive lymph nodes. Two patients were excluded because an endobronchial mass was detected at the time of the procedure. The target lesion could be visualized in 121 cases and FNA was performed in 118 cases. A definitive diagnosis was obtained in 106 cases (87.6%). Eighty-eight patients (72.7%) had non-small cell lung cancer, 15 (12.4%) had small cell lung cancer and metastatic disease was found in 3 patients (2.5%). The remaining 15 negative cases were subsequently diagnosed by surgical procedures. Twelve patients (9.9%) had a malignant tumor and in 3 (2.5%) a benign lesion was found. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of EBUS and EUS-FNA to diagnose malignancy were 89.8%, 100%, 100% and 20.0% respectively. The diagnostic accuracy was 90.1% in a population with 97.5% prevalence of cancer. The ultrasonographic approach avoided expensive surgical procedures and significantly reduced costs (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Linear EBUS and EUS-FNA are able to improve the diagnostic yield of suspicious lung cancer lesions after non-diagnostic conventional techniques. These techniques, performed with one scope, can be offered to patients with accessible lesions as an intermediate step for diagnosis since they may avoid more invasive procedures and hence reduce costs.

Keywords:
Lung cancer; Endobronchial ultrasound; Endoscopic ultrasound; Fine needle aspiration; Diagnosis