TBNA with and without EBUS: A comparative efficacy study for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer

Junhong Jiang, Robert Browning, Noah Lechtzin, Jianan Huang, Peter Terry, Ko Pen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: Conventional transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) has been around for over 30 years with sensitivities approaching 70-90%. Recent development of endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) TBNA demonstrated even higher sensitivities among experts. However EBUS-TBNA is more costly and less available worldwide than conventional TBNA. A comparison study to determine the efficacy of TBNA with and without EBUS in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer is described. Methods: A total of 287 patients with mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy presenting for diagnosis and/or staging of lung cancer at enrolling institutions were included. Equal numbers of punctures were performed at the target lymph node stations using conventional TBNA techniques followed by EBUSTBNA at the same sites. Patients and puncture sites that were biopsied by both methods and were positive for lung cancer were compared to establish efficacy of each technique on the same patients. Results: In 253 patients at least one pair of specimens were obtained by conventional TBNA and EBUSTBNA. In 83 of these patients malignancy was diagnosed. Among the 83 patients with a diagnosis of a malignancy there was no significant difference in the diagnostic yield of conventional TBNA versus EBUSTBNA. When comparing diagnosis of malignancy for each lymph node sampled, there were a significantly greater number of positive (diagnostic for malignancy) lymph nodes sampled by EBUS-TBNA. Conclusions: Recommendations for current practice depend on individual centers and bronchoscopist comfort level with TBNA (with or without EBUS). In our study, no significant difference was seen between the techniques for the diagnosis and staging of individual patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-420
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchoscopy
  • endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
  • lung cancer
  • transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA)


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