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AIM: To determine whether computed tomography (CT) can predict the likelihood of obtaining a positive tissue diagnosis at fibreoptic bronchoscopy (FOB), or demonstrate an alternative means of achieving a tissue diagnosis, in patients presenting with a high clinical suspicion of primary bronchogenic carcinoma and an abnormal chest radiograph (CXR). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty-two patients presenting with a high clinical suspicion of carcinoma and an abnormal CXR had chest and liver CT and FOB performed. All patients subsequently had histocytological confirmation of malignancy. Features recorded from the CTs included: the site and characteristics of a mass if present, and its relationship to adjacent airways; the presence of presumed metastatic disease; and a CT prediction of the likelihood of positive FOB was made. RESULTS: Of the patients, 41/62 (66%) had inoperable stage IIIb/IV disease. Fibreoptic biopsy yielded positive tissue diagnoses in 38/62 (61%). Computed tomography features predicting a positive FOB in this group included: ill-definition of the mass (12/15, 80%); a mass <4 cm from the origin of the nearest lobar bronchus (36/53, 68%); an endobronchial component of mass (22/24, 92%); a segmental or larger airway leading to the mass (30/35, 86%). Overall, CT had positive and negative predictive values for positive FOB of 85% and 78% respectively. The accuracy of the overall CT prediction of positive FOB was better than the accuracy of any of the individual factors. Seventeen of 62 (27%) patients had presumed metastatic disease suitable for percutaneous biopsy. CONCLUSION: Computed tomography is useful in predicting the likelihood of achieving positive histocytology at FOB. The overall CT prediction is superior to any of the individual CT features taken alone.Bungay, H. K. (2000). Clinical Radiology 55, 554-560.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Radiol

Publication Date





554 - 560


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Bronchoscopy, Carcinoma, Bronchogenic, Evaluation Studies as Topic, Female, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, Sensitivity and Specificity, Tomography, X-Ray Computed