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Curr Oncol. 2012 Jun;19(Suppl 1):S16-23. doi: 10.3747/co.19.1062.

The importance of a satisfactory biopsy for the diagnosis of lung cancer in the era of personalized treatment.

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Division of Respiratory Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC.


Advances in molecular biology are improving the understanding of lung cancer and changing the approach to treatment. A satisfactory biopsy that allows for histologic characterization and mutation analysis is becoming increasingly important. Most patients with lung cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage, and diagnosis is often based on a small biopsy or cytology specimen. Here, we review the techniques available for making a diagnosis of lung cancer, including bronchoscopy, ultrasound-guided bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, transthoracic needle aspiration, thoracentesis, and medical thoracoscopy. We also discuss the indications, complications, and tissue yields of those techniques, especially as they pertain to testing for molecular markers.


EGFR; Lung cancer; bronchoscopy; diagnosis; endobronchial ultrasonography; molecular markers; thoracoscopy; transthoracic needle aspiration

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