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Chest. 2013 May;143(5 Suppl):e263S-e277S. doi: 10.1378/chest.12-2358.

Diagnosis and treatment of bronchial intraepithelial neoplasia and early lung cancer of the central airways: Diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.

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Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Electronic address:
Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN.
Pulmonary Service, University of Navarra, Navarra, Spain.



Bronchial intraepithelial lesions may be precursors of central airway lung carcinomas. Identification and early treatment of these preinvasive lesions might prevent progression to invasive carcinoma.


We systematically reviewed the literature to develop evidence-based recommendations regarding the diagnosis and treatment of intraepithelial lesions.


The risk and timeline for progression of bronchial intraepithelial lesions to carcinoma in situ (CIS) or invasive carcinoma are not well understood. Multiple studies show that autofluorescence bronchoscopy (AFB) is more sensitive that white light bronchoscopy (WLB) to identify these lesions. In patients with severe dysplasia or CIS in sputum cytology who have chest imaging studies showing no localizing abnormality, we suggest use of WLB; AFB may be used as an adjunct when available. Patients with known severe dysplasia or CIS of central airways should be followed with WLB or AFB, when available. WLB or AFB is also suggested for patients with early lung cancer who will undergo resection for delineation of tumor margins and assessment of synchronous lesions. However, AFB is not recommended prior to endobronchial therapy for CIS or early central lung cancer. Several endobronchial techniques are recommended for the treatment of patients with superficial limited mucosal lung cancer who are not candidates for resection.


Additional information is needed about the natural history and rate of progression of preinvasive central airway lesions. Patients with severe dysplasia or CIS may be treated endobronchially; however, it remains unclear if these therapies are associated with improved patient outcomes.

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