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August 1975

Cytology of Bronchial Washings: A Study of Patients With Malignant Neoplasms of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute (Drs. Dellon and Chretien), the Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute (Dr. Chu), and the Pulmonary Branch, National Heart and Lung Institute (Dr. Hall), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Dr. Dellon is now with Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, and Dr. Hall is now with the Corvallis Clinic, Corvallis, Ore.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1975;101(8):465-466. doi:10.1001/archotol.1975.00780370007003

Among 18 patients with locally advanced malignant neoplasms of the head and neck region, bronchial washings failed to reveal tumor cells despite the demonstration of exfoliated tumor cells in washings from the region of the primary tumor in 13 (72%) of the patients. Among 17 patients with bronchogenic carcinomas, however, tumor cells were isolated from the bronchial washings in 14 (82%). These results indicate that, in patients with malignant neoplasms of the head and neck, tumor cells found in bronchial washings probably are not from the primary head and neck neoplasms. Thus, cytologic examination of bronchial washings may be validly employed in the differential diagnosis of the pulmonary tumors in patients with malignant neoplasms of the head and neck region.

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