Bronchoscopic treatment (BT) has a curative potential for patients with intraluminal microinvasive radiographically occult lung cancer (ROLC). We report the long-term follow-up in a group of 32 patients, ineligible for surgery, in whom ROLC was diagnosed and treated with BT. Tumors were strictly <or=1 cm in size, intraluminally located in the central airways, with no bronchial wall invasion or extraluminal tumor growth on high resolution CT (HRCT), with visible distal margin under conventional and autofluorescence bronchoscopy (AFB). BT was given with curative intent and consecutive patients were treated with photodynamic therapy (five patients), Nd-YAG laser therapy (one patient), electrocautery (24 patients) and argon plasma coagulation (two patients). Follow-up evaluation at 3-4 months interval included HRCT scans, both conventional and AFB, including biopsies and brush cytology for histological evaluation. The average follow-up period was 5 years (range: 2-10 years). In three patients local recurrence was again successfully treated with electrocautery. Sixteen patients died during follow-up. Eight of the nine patients who died due to lung cancer had a previous resection of a more advanced stage lung cancer up to 5 years before BT of the ROLC. The remaining seven patients cause of death was not related to lung cancer. Sixteen patients are still alive without any tumor recurrence. These data showed that BT is an effective treatment modality for high-risk patients with ROLC, who are not eligible for surgical resection.