We followed the course of 47 consecutive patients with inoperable primary bronchogenic carcinoma who underwent palliative neodymium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser photoresection (YPR) between September 1983 and September 1986. Of these 47, 35 (74.5 percent) underwent both radiation therapy (XRT) and YPR. The survival of these 35 patients (median survival, 304 days) was compared with that of 58 who underwent only palliative palliative XRT (median survival, 253 days) from 1981 to 1983, when YPR was not yet available at our institution. There was no significant difference in overall survival (p = 0.17). A significant increase in survival (p = 0.04) was seen in 15 patients who underwent emergency palliative YPR as the initial therapeutic intervention compared with 11 patients who received emergency palliative XRT but would have received YPR had it been available at that time. A trend toward increased survival was also shown in patients who underwent endobronchial radiation therapy in addition to YPR and XRT.