Endobronchial stent implantation has been successfully employed in malignant stenoses. The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the temporary use of tracheobronchial stents combined with tumour-specific therapy. All patients received stents for primary palliation of dyspnoea followed by radio- or chemotherapy with the aim of stent removal after reduction of the stenosis. In 22 patients suffering from severe malignant strictures, 34 endobronchial stents (29 Strecker-, 3 Dumon-, 1 Orlowski-, 1 Dynamic-Y-stents) were implanted (in 9 patients, 2 stents were necessary). Patients were treated by irradiation (n = 18) or chemotherapy (n = 4) after stent implantation. Significant improvement of dyspnoea (P < 0.001) and partial oxygen pressure (P < 0.01) was observed. In 11 out of 22 cases (50%), the stents could be removed after successful tumour-specific therapy which led to reduction of stenosis after a mean interval of 31.7 (6-104) days (temporary stenting). During the period of tumour-specific therapy, 9 patients died after a mean interval of 132 (13-347) days (definite stenting). In two cases, stents had to be removed after stent compression, stent dislocation and severe cough. The results suggest that temporary stenting, characterised by subsequent successful tumour-specific therapy, is a new valuable therapeutic strategy. It can "bridge the gap" before tumour-specific therapy can take effect. If tumour-specific therapy is ineffective, definite stenting is the palliative method of choice in severe dyspnoea in bronchial carcinoma.