Persistence of Bronchial Dysplasia Is Associated with Development of Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2016 Jan;9(1):96-104. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-15-0305. Epub 2015 Nov 5.


Bronchial dysplasia (BD), a presumed precursor of pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), rarely progresses to invasive cancer. A high-risk cohort at the University of Colorado provided an opportunity to directly sample airway epithelium at mapped sites on successive bronchoscopies. We have hypothesized that persistent dysplastic lesions showing a similar or higher level of dysplasia on follow-up biopsy, are associated with increased risk for the development of SCC. Endoscopic biopsies from 188 high-risk subjects were histologically classified according to the current WHO classification for BD using a numeric histology score ranging from 1 to 8 representing normal bronchial mucosa through invasive lung cancer. Differences in follow-up histology scores were compared between sites classified by clinical, histologic, and immunohistochemical variables. Subjects with a higher frequency of sites that persist or progress to high-grade dysplasia (≥37.5% persist/progress, N = 35 versus <37.5% persist/progress, N = 114) show a significant association with development of incident invasive SCC (adjusted HR, 7.84; 95% confidence interval, 1.56-39.39), and those with incident lung SCC have adjusted mean follow-up histology scores 1.55 U higher than in subjects without lung cancer. Current smoking, elevated Ki67 growth fraction, histologic features of angiogenic squamous dysplasia (ASD) and higher histology score in baseline biopsies are significantly associated with increased follow-up histology scores. These results show that persistent BD is associated with the development of invasive SCC. Furthermore, increased expression of Ki67, the presence of angiogenic change and degree of baseline atypia are associated with persistence of BD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / complications
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic


  • Ki-67 Antigen