The role of endobronchial ultrasound in lung cancer diagnosis and staging: a comprehensive review

Clin Lung Cancer. 2012 Nov;13(6):408-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) technology is a relatively new bronchoscopic method of visualizing the tracheobronchial tree, the surrounding pulmonary parenchyma, and the mediastinal structures, with a particular role in lung cancer diagnosis, staging, and treatment. There are 2 types of probes used in EBUS: the peripheral or radial probe (RP) and the linear or convex probe (CP) EBUS, which have technical differences and distinct diagnostic abilities. Both are used for EBUS-guided biopsies and transbronchial needle aspirations (TBNA), which increases the diagnostic yield over conventional bronchoscopic techniques, thus providing advanced information on staging, diagnosis, and treatment. Complications of EBUS are rare, and they are usually related to the underlying biopsy procedure and the operator's experience. EBUS examination duration is usually short, and it can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Interestingly, EBUS combinations with other current and evolving techniques, eg, electromagnetic navigation, are feasible and have a role in therapeutic interventions and molecular diagnostics. In conclusion, EBUS is a safe and accurate technique that is comparable with current criterion standard procedures, eg, mediastinoscopy. More training is required for the vast majority of respiratory physicians, and precise diagnostic algorithms are needed so that more patients benefit from this development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle / methods
  • Bronchoscopes
  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Endosonography / adverse effects
  • Endosonography / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging