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October 28, 1968

Diagnosis of Lung Cancer by the Transbronchial Brush Biopsy Technique

Author Affiliations

From the departments of radiology. Southern Baptist Hospital (Drs. Bean and Eavenson), Charity Hospital (Drs. Graham and Jordan), and Tulane Medical School, New Orleans. Dr. Graham is now serving with the US Army in Vietnam.

JAMA. 1968;206(5):1070-1072. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150050058013

The problem of diagnosis of cancer of the lung has yielded partially to the diagnostic triad of bronchoscopy, sputum cytology, and scalene-node biopsy. There still remains a considerable number of cases in which open-lung biopsy is the only means of arriving at a diagnosis, especially with the small, peripheral lesions.

The development of brush biopsy technique by Hattori et al1 and modifications made by Fennessey2 make it possible to diagnose peripheral lung cancer nonsurgically in a majority of cases.3

We first applied this technique in January 1967 in problem cases and have found the method very useful, easy to learn, and safe to use. We therefore present our experiences in the hope that this will encourage others to utilize the method for the benefit of their patients.

Material, Equipment, and Technique  The brushes used in this technique are nylon mounted on a 36.5-inch stainless steel wire. They