Objective Endobronchial ultrasonography with a guide sheath (EBUS-GS) and virtual bronchoscopic navigation (VBN) improves the diagnostic yield in patients with peripheral pulmonary lesions (PPLs). Most previous reports on EBUS-GS-guided transbronchial biopsy (TBB) have included patients with benign and malignant diseases. We aimed to determine the factors that predicted a successful diagnosis by EBUS-GS-guided TBB diagnostic in patients with small peripheral lung cancer, with a focus on the high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) findings before bronchoscopy. Methods We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 173 consecutive patients with 175 small (≤30 mm) PPLs who were diagnosed with primary lung cancer between June 2010 and October 2013 at Nagoya University Hospital. All patients underwent EBUS-GS-guided TBB with VBN using a ZioStation computer workstation (Ziosoft, Osaka, Japan). We analyzed the patient characteristics, HRCT findings, diagnostic yield, and the diagnostic factors in small peripheral lung carcinoma. Results The EBUS probe position was within the PPL in 83 of the 175 lesions (47%) and 112 (64.0%) cases were successfully diagnosed by EBUS-GS-guided TBB. A univariate analysis revealed that the following factors were associated with a significantly higher diagnostic yield: CT bronchus sign positivity, a lesion of >20 mm in diameter, a solid nodule, and a probe position that was within the lesion. The following factors were not significant: the lesion location, the number of biopsies, and the lung cancer histology. A multivariate analysis revealed that the following factors significantly affected the diagnostic yield: CT bronchus sign positivity [odds ratio (OR) =2.479]; a probe position that was within the lesion (OR=2.542); and a solid nodule (OR=2.304). Conclusion The significant factors that were significantly associated with a successful diagnosis using EBUS-GS-guided TBB in small peripheral lung carcinoma were as follows: CT bronchus sign positivity, a solid nodule, and a probe position that was within the lesion.
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