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January 21, 1974

The Prognostic Value of Bronchoscopy in Primary Lung Cancer: A New Perspective for an Old Procedure

Author Affiliations

From the Chronic Respiratory Disease Section, Philadelphia Health Department, and the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and the Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1974;227(3):299-301. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230160027005

A retrospective study of 1,038 proved cases of primary lung cancer detected by chest photofluorography was made to develop clues on factors important to survival. One important factor appears to be the location of the cancer in a stem bronchus. Of 132 patients with cancer in this area, only one is alive five years later and six others are alive one to two years following detection; the five-year survival rate is only 1.7%. The one long-term survivor was treated by large doses of x-radiation. By comparison, the five-year survival of those without cancers of the stem bronchus is 13%. The poorer survival in those with stem-bronchial cancer and the 30-day postoperative mortality of 9.6% suggest that a change in attitude may be necessary to avoid thoracotomy in an attempt to cure such persons.