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April 1981

The Determination of Resectability of Lung Cancer by Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Disease, University of South Florida, College of Medicine, and James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, Tampa. Drs Robbins and Sweet are now with the Department of Respiratory Services, Martin Memorial Hospital, Stuart, Fla. Dr Jefferson is now with Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(5):649-650. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340050095020

• The usefulness of flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FFB) in determining resectability of lung cancer in 152 patients was evaluated. Based on clinical and routine chest roentgenographic examinations, 66 patients (43%) had what were considered to be operable lesions greater than 3 cm in diameter or tumors associated with atelectasis or obstructive pneumonitis (but less than an entire lung), without evidence of pleural effusion or chest wall, mediastinal, or extrathoracic involvement. Forty-eight (73%) of the 66 patients were eventually found to have unresectable conditions. With FFB alone, the conditions of 32 (67%) of these 48 patients were staged as unresectable, so that more invasive procedures, eg, mediastinoscopy or thoracotomy, were required in only 12 and four patients, respectively. Early FFB should be done in potentially resectable cases in which these roentgenographic criteria are met. This procedure is easy, safe, and economical and would allow many patients with lung cancer to have the stage of their disease determined and be treated entirely as outpatients.

(Arch Intern Med 1981;141:649-650)