Objective: To compile fiberoptic bronchoscopy findings in patients diagnosed with lung cancer and to correlate those with histopathological findings.
Methods: This was a retrospective study involving 212 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of lung cancer by cytological evaluation of BAL specimens or by histopathological evaluation of endobronchial or transbronchial biopsy specimens. The data were collected at the Respiratory Endoscopy Sector of Hospital São Salvador, located in the city of Goiânia, Brazil, between 2005 and 2010. The endoscopic findings were classified as endoscopically visible tumor, endoscopically invisible tumor, mucosal injury, as well as being classified by the presence/type of secretion. The visible tumors were also classified according to their location in the tracheobronchial tree.
Results: Endobronchial mass (64%) and mucosal infiltration (35%) were the main endoscopic findings. The histological type was determined in 199 cases, the most prevalent types being squamous carcinoma, in 78 (39%), adenocarcinoma, in 42 (21%) small cell carcinoma, in 24 (12%), and large cell carcinoma, in 2 (1%). More than 45% of the visible tumors were at the upper bronchi. Squamous carcinoma (n = 78) was most commonly visualized as an endobronchial mass (in 74%), mucosal infiltration (in 36%), luminal narrowing (in 10%), or external compression (in 6%).
Conclusions: Our results show that the endobronchial mass is the most common bronchoscopic finding that is suggestive of malignancy. Proportionally, mucosal infiltration is the most common finding in small cell carcinoma. In adenocarcinoma, luminal narrowing, external compression, mucosal injury, and endobronchial secretion prevail.