Multimodality guidance for accurate bronchoscopic insertion of fiducial markers

J Thorac Oncol. 2015 Feb;10(2):324-30. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0000000000000389.


Introduction: Fiducial markers act as visible surrogates of tumor position during image-guided radiotherapy. Marker placement has been attempted percutaneously but is associated with high rates of pneumothorax and chest drain placement.

Methods: Patients undergoing radical radiation treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer underwent bronchoscopic implantation of gold fiducials using radial probe endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) with virtual bronchoscopy and fluoroscopic guidance to achieve tumor localization and placement within/adjacent to peripheral lung tumors. For tumors not localized using radial EBUS, fiducial placement was achieved by electromagnetic navigation to the vicinity of the tumor.

Results: Eighteen fiducials were placed to mark 16 lesions in 15 patients. In nine patients (60%), fiducials were implanted at the time of diagnostic bronchoscopy. No procedural complications occurred. EBUS localization allowed marker implantation within the target lesion in 12 cases. In four lesions, electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy-guided implantation achieved a median fiducial-lesion distance of 6 mm (mean 12 mm). No marker migration occurred after the implantation of two-band markers; however, early migration was observed in two of eight (25%) of the smaller linear fiducials. No migration during the course of radiation therapy was observed.

Conclusion: Fiducial marker placement is easily and safely performed bronchoscopically, including at the time of diagnostic bronchoscopy. Marker geometry appears important in stability of bronchoscopically inserted fiducials. Future studies are required to confirm the optimal marker size, geometry, and spatial relationship with the target lesion.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy / instrumentation
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Fiducial Markers*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Multimodal Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / instrumentation*