Interventional bronchoscopy has a predominant role in the management of both early and advanced-stage airway tumors. Given the very poor prognosis of lung cancer, there is a need for new tools to improve early detection and bronchoscopic treatment of endo-bronchial precancerous lesions. In more advanced stages, interventional bronchoscopy plays an important role, as nearly a third of lung cancers lead to proximal airway obstruction. This will cause great discomfort or even life-threatening symptoms related to local extension, such as dyspnea, post-obstructive pneumonia, and hemoptysis. Surgery for very locally advanced disease is only effective for a limited number of patients and the effects of conventional antitumor therapies, like radiation therapy or chemotherapy, are inconstant and are too delayed in a palliative context. In this review, we aim to provide pulmonologists with an exhaustive technical overview of (I) the bronchoscopic management of benign endobronchial lesions; (II) the bronchoscopic management of malignant tumors, including the curative treatment of localized lesions and palliative management of malignant proximal airway stenosis; and (III) descriptions of the emerging endoscopic techniques used to treat peripheral lung tumors.
Keywords: Interventional bronchoscopy; airway stent; brachytherapy; central airway obstruction; laser; lung cancer.