Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical value of virtual bronchoscopy (VB) in aiding diagnosis of peripheral lung cancer by transbronchial biopsy (TBB). In addition, we sought to systematically analyze the factors that affect the diagnostic sensitivity of VB-guided TBB for the evaluation of peripheral lung cancers. Materials and methods: A hundred and twenty-two peripheral lung cancers from 122 patients (82 men and 40 women, 38-84 years; median 68.5 years) who were performed VB-guided TBB were evaluated retrospectively. VB was reconstructed from 1- or 0.5-mm slice thickness images of multi-detector CT (MDCT). Experienced pulmonologists inserted the conventional and ultrathin bronchoscopes into the target bronchus under direct vision following the VB image. Results: A definitive diagnosis was established by VB-guided TBB in 96 lesions (79%). The diagnostic sensitivity of small pulmonary lesions ≤30 mm in maximal diameter (71%) was significantly lower than that of lesions >30 mm (91%, p = 0.008). For small pulmonary lesions ≤30 mm (n = 76), internal opacity of the lesion was the independent predictor of diagnostic sensitivity by VB-guided TBB, and the non-solid type lung cancers were significantly lower than the solid type and part-solid type lung cancers for diagnostic sensitivity (odds ratio = 0.161; 95% confidence interval = 0.033-0.780; p = 0.023). Conclusion: Use of an ultrathin bronchoscope and simulation with VB reconstructed by high quality MDCT images is thought to improve pathological diagnosis of peripheral lung cancers, especially for solid and partly solid types. For small pulmonary lesions ≤30 mm, the lesion internal opacity is a significant factor for predicting the diagnostic sensitivity, and the sensitivity was low for small non-solid type of lung cancers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging