Old meets modern: the use of traditional cryoprobes in the age of molecular biology

Respiration. 2008;76(2):193-7. doi: 10.1159/000135934. Epub 2008 Jun 26.


Background: Endobronchial forceps biopsies are often small and are associated with a relevant extent of artifacts. To overcome these limitations is an important task. Especially when considering predictive factors for pharmacological therapies of lung cancer (ERCC1, RRM1) a development of biopsy techniques seems to be essential. This is the first report on a new endobronchial biopsy technique called cryobiopsy.

Objectives: In this study the feasibility and the potential advantages of applying cryoprobes for harvesting samples for histological examination in flexible bronchoscopies will be focused on.

Methods: In 12 patients suffering from exophytic endobronchial malignancies, a modified flexible cryoprobe was used for immediate recanalization. The extracted tissue was examined histologically regarding sample quality and sample size.

Results: Tissue samples obtained using the cryoprobe showed an extraordinary good quality in terms of size (median diameter of 6.7 mm, range 4.2-13 mm) and artifact-free sample area (75% of the samples showed an artifact-free sample area of more than 75%). Additionally molecular markers were shown to be well preserved.

Conclusions: The new technique termed cryobiopsy might widen the chest physician's range of tools for diagnostic bronchoscopies.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cryosurgery / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Biomarkers