Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration vs conventional transbronchial needle aspiration in the diagnosis of sarcoidosis

Chest. 2014 Sep;146(3):547-556. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-2339.


Background: Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is superior to conventional transbronchial needle aspiration (cTBNA) in the staging of lung cancer. However, its efficiency in diagnosis of sarcoidosis when combined with endobronchial biopsy (EBB) and transbronchial lung biopsy (TBLB) has not been studied. This randomized controlled trial compares diagnostic yield of EBUS-TBNA vs cTBNA in combination with EBB and TBLB.

Methods: Patients with clinical diagnosis of sarcoidosis were randomized 1:1 to EBUS-TBNA or cTBNA. All patients underwent TBLB and EBB. The primary outcome was detection of granulomas. The secondary end points were the individual and cumulative yields of various procedures, serious adverse events, and procedure time.

Results: Of the 130 patients, sarcoidosis was diagnosed in 117 (62 cTBNA, 55 EBUS-TBNA). The two groups were similar at baseline. Granulomas were demonstrated in 104 (53 cTBNA, 51 EBUS-TBNA) patients and were similar in two groups (85.5% vs 92.7%, P = .34). Individually, EBUS-TBNA had the highest yield (41 of 55, 74.5%), which was better than cTBNA (30 of 62, 48.4%, P = .004) or EBB (40 of 111, 36.3%, P < .0001) but not TBLB (78 of 112, 69.6%, P = .54). Adding EBB/TBLB to cTBNA led to an increase in granuloma detection, whereas the addition of TBLB (but not EBB) significantly enhanced the yield of EBUS-TBNA. The procedure time was significantly longer with EBUS-TBNA. No major adverse events occurred.

Conclusions: Individually, EBUS-TBNA has the highest diagnostic yield in sarcoidosis, but it should be combined with TBLB for the optimal yield. The diagnostic yield of cTBNA (plus EBB and TBLB) is similar to EBUS-TBNA plus TBLB.

Trial registry: ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT01908868; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / methods*
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Endosonography / methods*
  • Female
  • Granuloma, Respiratory Tract / diagnosis
  • Granuloma, Respiratory Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01908868