Rationale: The current management of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) requires differentiation between squamous and nonsquamous subtypes as well as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation status. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is increasingly used for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer. However, it is unclear whether cytology specimens obtained with EBUS-TBNA are suitable for the subclassification and genotyping of NSCLC.
Objectives: To determine whether cytology specimens obtained from EBUS-TBNA in routine practice are suitable for phenotyping and genotyping of NSCLC.
Methods: Cytological diagnoses from EBUS-TBNA were recorded from 774 patients with known or suspected lung cancer across five centers in the United Kingdom between 2009 and 2011.
Measurements and main results: The proportion of patients with a final diagnosis by EBUS-TBNA in whom subtype was classified was 77% (95% confidence interval [CI], 73-80). The rate of NSCLC not otherwise specified (NSCLC-NOS) was significantly reduced in patients who underwent immunohistochemistry (adjusted odds ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.28-0.82; P = 0.016). EGFR mutation analysis was possible in 107 (90%) of the 119 patients in whom mutation analysis was requested. The sensitivity, negative predictive value, and diagnostic accuracy of EBUS-TBNA in patients with NSCLC were 88% (95% CI, 86-91), 72% (95% CI, 66-77), and 91% (95% CI, 89-93), respectively.
Conclusions: This large, multicenter, pragmatic study demonstrates that cytology samples obtained from EBUS-TBNA in routine practice are suitable for subtyping of NSCLC and EGFR mutation analysis and that the use of immunohistochemistry reduces the rate of NSCLC-NOS.