Relation between vascular patterns visualized by Narrow Band Imaging (NBI) videobronchoscopy and histological type of lung cancer

Med Oncol. 2013 Mar;30(1):374. doi: 10.1007/s12032-012-0374-x. Epub 2012 Dec 29.


Narrow Band Imaging (NBI) videobronchoscopy is a new technique for visualization of microvascular changes in bronchial mucosa. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate relation between vascular patterns visualized by NBI and histology of lung cancer. We prospectively evaluated 65 patients with suspected lung cancer scheduled for bronchoscopy. NBI followed conventional WL videobronchoscopy. After identification of endoscopically visible tumor, NBI was used to determine predominant type of pathological vascular pattern (dotted, tortuous, abrupt-ending blood vessels-Shibuya descriptors). All the lesions were biopsied and histologically confirmed. There were 81.5 % male and 18.5 % female patients evaluated in the study. Lung cancer was confirmed in all patients; 63.1 % were diagnosed with squamous cell lung cancer (SCC), 24.6 % had adenocarcinoma, 9.2 % had small-cell (SCLC) and 3.1 % large-cell lung cancer (LC). Dotted blood vessels were significantly (p < 0.000) associated with adenocarcinoma, identified in 68.4 % adenocarcinoma and 31.6 % SCC. Tortuous blood vessels were identified in 72 % SCC, 8 % adenocarcinoma, 12 % SCLC and 8 % of LC. Tortuous blood vessels were significantly (p < 0.000) associated with SCC. Abrupt-ending vessels were identified in 81 % SCC, 14.3 % SCLC and 4.8 % adenocarcinoma and were significantly associated (p < 0.000) with SCC. Dotted visual pattern of blood vessels identified during NBI videobronchoscopy is highly suggesting adenocarcinoma histology of lung cancer. Tortuous and abrupt-ending blood vessels visualized under NBI videobronchoscopy significantly suggest squamous cell histology of lung cancer. Large-scale studies should be designed in order to determine true relation between visual appearance and histology in lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narrow Band Imaging / methods*
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / blood supply
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / pathology
  • Video Recording