Background: Several recent studies discuss bronchoscopic techniques for treating endobronchial lipoma, an extremely rare benign tumor.
Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of endobronchial lipoma and to propose appropriate therapeutic policies for treating this tumor.
Methods: We reviewed 64 cases of endobronchial lipoma: 33 cases previously reported in 30 different articles, and 31 case reports presented at thoracic meetings in Japan.
Results: Of the 64 patients included in this study (50 male and 14 female; mean age, 60 years), 40 patients had endobronchial lipoma in the right lung and 23 patients had it in the left lung. The overwhelming majority of the tumors (n = 61) were found in the first three subdivisions of the tracheobronchial tree. Forty-eight patients (75%) were symptomatic, and their symptoms included cough, sputum, hemoptysis, elevated temperature, and dyspnea. Additionally, abnormal radiographic findings were reported for 51 patients (80%): 18 patients had atelectasis, 14 patients had infiltration or consolidation, 6 patients showed volume loss of the lung, and mass shadow was identified in 9 patients, and another abnormality including pleural effusion was found in 4 patients. Forty patients underwent surgical resection: 4 pneumonectomies, 24 lobectomies, 8 bilobectomies, and 4 resections by bronchotomy. Bronchoscopic resection was carried out in 17 cases: 7 cases by Nd-YAG laser, 5 cases by electrosurgical snaring forceps, and another 5 cases with a combined therapy using both procedures.
Conclusions: Bronchoscopic resection should be considered as the first choice of treatment for endobronchial lipoma; however, surgical therapy is indicated for patients who show the possibility of a complicated malignant tumor, who have destructive peripheral lung disease, who have extrabronchial growth, or who may have technical difficulties during the bronchoscopic procedure.