JTO: Narrow-band imaging is good alternative for early lung cancer diagnosis

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Narrow-band imaging bronchoscopy (NBI) might be a better alternative than autoflourescence imaging (AFI) in detecting early stage lung cancer, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

Research has shown that cure rates improve when non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is detected while it is still localized to the surface of the lung. Technologies that utilize AFI, white light videobronchoscopy (WLB) and now NBI have been developed with the goal of improving the ability of physicians to diagnose NSCLC at an early stage.

Felix J.F. Herth, MD, of the department of pneumology and critical care medicine at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues conducted a 10-month review of patients referred for airway screening or surveillance with the objective of evaluating the diagnostic yield of NBI individually and in combination with AFI and WLB.

Of the 57 patients, 30 percent were diagnosed with intraepithelial neoplasia. The sensitivity of WLB was 0.18 and the specificity was 0.88, while the relative sensitivities (compared with WLB) of AFI and NBI were 3.7 and 3.0 , respectively. The relative specificities of AFI and NBI were 0.5 and 1, respectively.

"This research shows that when diagnosing early stage lung cancer, using NBI may be a better option than AFI because it increases specificity without compromising sensitivity," said Herth. "Continued research on these detection methods is necessary to further understand the best, most accurate ways to increase early diagnosis in lung cancer."