Adequacy of lymph node transbronchial needle aspirates using convex probe endobronchial ultrasound for multiple tumor genotyping techniques in non-small-cell lung cancer

J Thorac Oncol. 2013 Nov;8(11):1438-1444. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3182a471a9.


Introduction: Adequate tumor acquisition is essential to identify somatic molecular alterations in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) translocations. The success and failure rates for tumor genotyping of tissue obtained from fine-needle aspirates of nodal tissue using a convex probe endobronchial ultrasound (CP-EBUS) and other diagnostic modalities in routine NSCLC care have not been described.

Methods: Clinicopathologic data, tumor genotype success and failure rates were retrospectively compiled and analyzed from 207 patient-tumor samples sent for routine tumor genotype in clinical practice, including 42 patient-tumor samples obtained from hilar or mediastinal lymph nodes using CP-EBUS.

Results: The median age of the patients was 65 years, 62.3% were women, 77.8% were white, 26.6% were never smokers, 73.9% had advanced NSCLC, and 84.1% had adenocarcinoma histology. Tumor tissue was obtained from CP-EBUS-derived hilar or mediastinal nodes in 42 cases (20.2% of total). In this latter cohort, the overall success rate for EGFR mutation analysis was 95.2%, for Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutation 90.5%, and for ALK fluorescence in situ hybridization 90.5%. In the complete 207 tumors, the success rate for EGFR was 92.3%, for KRAS 91.8%, and for ALK 89.9%. The failure rates were not significantly different when comparing CP-EBUS-derived nodal tissue versus all other samples or versus surgical biopsies of mediastinal nodes, but were significantly lower than image-guided percutaneous transthoracic core-needle biopsies.

Conclusions: The success rate of multiple tumor genomic analyses techniques for EGFR, KRAS, and ALK gene abnormalities using routine lung cancer tissue samples obtained from hilar or mediastinal lymph nodes by means of CP-EBUS exceeds 90%, and this method of tissue acquisition is not inferior to other specimen types. Tumor genotype techniques are feasible in most CP-EBUS-derived samples and therefore further expansion of routine tumor genotype for the care of patients with NSCLC may be possible using targeted sample acquisition through CP-EBUS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Bronchi / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bronchi / metabolism
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Endosonography*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Retrospective Studies
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins