Study objectives: To establish the diagnostic yield of transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) and its contribution to conventional diagnostic techniques (CDT) such as forceps biopsy, bronchial washing, and bronchial brushing in the diagnosis of malignant endobronchial lesions.
Design: Retrospective clinical study.
Patients: One hundred fifteen lung cancer patients
Measurement and results: We reviewed files of 115 lung carcinoma cases diagnosed in our clinic from 2001 to 2003 with endobronchial lesions sampled by CDT and TBNA. The lesions were classified into three groups: exophitic mass lesion (EML), submucosal disease, and peribronchial disease. The diagnostic yield of TBNA and CDT was compared to that of the combination of CDT and TBNA with respect to the type and location of the lesion and the histopathologic subgroups. Of the 115 cases, histology findings were confirmed by TBNA in 91 cases (79%), CDT in 75 cases (65%), and TBNA plus CDT in 105 cases (91%). The difference of the diagnostic yield of CDT vs TBNA plus CDT was statistically significant (p < 0.001). In peribronchial disease, the sensitivity of TBNA plus CDT was significantly better than CDT (87% vs 52%, p < 0.001). In EML and submucosal disease, addition of TBNA to CDT improved sensitivity from 85 to 100% and from 84 to 97%, respectively (p > 0.05). Regarding localization, the addition of TBNA to CDT increased sensitivity in the trachea and main bronchi, and in right upper and middle lobe lesions (p < 0.05). By the addition of TBNA to CDT, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer cases demonstrated improvements in sensitivity from 74 to 100% and 61 to 87%, respectively. This significant difference (p < 0.05) was attributed to the peribronchial disease group.
Conclusion: In the case of peribronchial disease, the addition of TBNA to CDT improves the diagnostic yield of the bronchoscopic examination.