Purpose: Endobronchial metastasis is defined as documented extrathoracic malignancies metastatic to the endobronchus within a bronchoscopically visible range. Although the clinical and radiologic findings of endobronchial metastasis are similar to primary lung cancer, treatment and prognosis may be different. We hereby investigated the clinical, radiologic and bronchoscopic aspects of endobronchial metastases (EBM) in Korean patients.
Materials and methods: A total of 43 patients with EBM who underwent bronchoscopic biopsies from June 1991 to December 2009 at Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea, were analyzed retrospectively. We evaluated clinical, radiologic and bronchoscopic characteristics of EBM.
Results: The patients consisted of 27 males and 16 females and their ages ranged from 18 to 77 years. The common primary cancers related to EBM were rectal (16.3%), colon (11.6%), breast (9.3%) and uterine (9.3%) cancers. The mean interval from diagnosis of primary cancer to EBM was 36 months, and the mean survival duration from diagnosis of EBM was 16.1 months in 33 deceased patients.
Conclusion: EBM develop in various types of malignancies at various times with unremarkable manifestations. Therefore, physicians should consider the possibility of EBM, especially if a patient has a history of any malignancy, regardless of respiratory symptoms. Respiratory symptoms related with EBM can be treated by various safe procedures.