Diagnostic Value of EBUS-TBNA for Lung Cancer with Non-Enlarged Lymph Nodes: A Study in a Tuberculosis-Endemic Country
In tuberculosis (TB)-endemic areas, contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) findings of lung cancer patients with non-enlarged lymph nodes are frequently discrepant. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) enables real-time nodal sampling, and thereby improves nodal diagnosis accuracy. This study aimed to compare the accuracy of nodal diagnosis by using EBUS-TBNA, and PET.
We studied 43 lung cancer patients with CT-defined non-enlarged mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes and examined 78 lymph nodes using EBUS-TBNA.
The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of EBUS-TBNA were 80.6%, 100%, 100%, and 85.7%, respectively. PET had low specificity (18.9%) and a low positive predictive value (44.4%). The diagnostic accuracy of EBUS-TBNA was higher than that of PET (91% vs. 47.4%; p<0.001). Compared to CT-based nodal assessment, PET yielded a positive diagnostic impact in 36.9% nodes, a negative diagnostic impact in 46.2% nodes, and no diagnostic impact in 16.9% nodes. Patients with lymph nodes showing negative PET diagnostic impact had a high incidence of previous pulmonary TB. Multivariate analysis indicated that detection of hilar nodes on PET was an independent predictor of negative diagnostic impact of PET.
In a TB-endemic area with a condition of CT-defined non-enlarged lymph node, the negative diagnostic impact of PET limits its clinical usefulness for nodal staging; therefore, EBUS-TBNA, which facilitates direct diagnosis, is preferred.
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