Introduction: Malignant airway obstruction accounts for significant morbidity and mortality in patients with lung and metastatic cancer. We prospectively assessed the effects of bronchoscopic interventions for the treatment of malignant airway obstruction, with specific attention to exercise capacity and quality of life (QoL).
Methods: This is a prospective cohort study. Patients with high-grade, symptomatic central malignant airway obstruction were assessed at baseline and then at days 30, 90, and 180 after bronchoscopic intervention with spirometry, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and QoL and dyspnea questionnaires (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life [C30] and Lung Cancer [LC-13] modules).
Results: Thirty-seven patients were included in the final statistical analysis. Increases in 6MWT distance by 99.7 m (95% CI 33.2-166.2 m, p = 0.002), FEV1 by 448 ml (95% CI 203-692 ml, p < 0.001), and FVC by 416 ml (95% CI 130-702 ml, p = 0.003) were seen at day 30 compared with baseline. Clinically and statistically significant improvements were noted in composite dyspnea scores at day 30 by both QoL C30 (decrease of 39.9, 95% CI 21.4-58.4, p < 0.001) and LC-13 (decrease of 28.2, 95% CI 12.9-43.5, p < 0.001) questionnaires.
Conclusions: Bronchoscopic intervention for malignant airway obstruction is associated with improvement in 6MWT, spirometry, and dyspnea at 30 days.