Comparison of tumor cell numbers and 22C3 PD-L1 expression between cryobiopsy and transbronchial biopsy with endobronchial ultrasonography-guide sheath for lung cancer

Respir Res. 2019 Aug 16;20(1):185. doi: 10.1186/s12931-019-1162-3.


Background: We previously reported cryobiopsy (Cryo) with endobronchial ultrasonography-guide sheath (EBUS-GS) for peripheral pulmonary lesions (PPLs) provides significantly larger tissues than transbronchial biopsy (TBB) and provides high quantity and quality DNA for gene analysis by next generation sequencing. However, the tumor cell yields and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression between each approach have not been compared. Here, we assessed the tumor cell numbers and PD-L1 expression for Cryo with EBUS-GS for PPLs and TBB in patients with lung cancer.

Methods: Sixteen patients were enrolled in this prospective study from June to November 2017 at Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital. The number of tumor cells from a single biopsy, total number of tumor cells, average number of tumor cells, and 22C3 PD-L1 expression (≥ 50% and ≥ 1%) were compared between Cryo and TBB.

Results: The numbers of tumor cells from a single biopsy, total numbers of tumor cells, and average numbers of tumor cells obtained by Cryo were significantly larger than those obtained by TBB (Cryo [means ± standard errors of the means]: 1321 ± 303.7, 1981 ± 411.7, and 1406 ± 310.3; TBB: 208.8 ± 38.24, 1044 ± 189.0, and 208.8 ± 37.81; P < 0.0001, P = 0.0474, P = 0.0006, respectively). PD-L1 ≥ 50% and ≥ 1% patients for Cryo were 18.8 and 56.3%, respectively, whereas those for TBB were 12.5 and 37.5%, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, concordance, and κ coefficient based on Cryo for TBB were 66.7, 100, 100, 92.9, 93.8%, and 0.7647, respectively, for PD-L1 ≥ 50%; and 44.4, 71.4, 66.7, 50, 56.3%, and 0.1515, respectively, for PD-L1 ≥ 1%.

Conclusion: Cryo with EBUS-GS may be a useful diagnostic approach for lung cancer, with advantages over TBB for gene analysis and whole exon sequencing. Particularly, it could contribute to patients taking pembrolizumab as first-line therapy when PD-L1 was negative by evaluating TBB specimens. It could also provide ample tissue for PD-L1 expression analysis in addition to accurate diagnosis and gene analysis.

Keywords: Cryobiopsy; Endobronchial ultrasonography-guide sheath; Peripheral pulmonary lesions; Programmed death ligand 1 expression; The number of tumor cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • B7-H1 Antigen / biosynthesis*
  • B7-H1 Antigen / genetics
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Bronchi / diagnostic imaging
  • Bronchi / metabolism*
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Cryosurgery / methods
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods*


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • CD274 protein, human