Author Contributions: Dr Tournoy had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Study concept and design: Annema, van Meerbeeck, Rintoul, Braun, Versteegh, Rabe, Tournoy.
Acquisition of data: Annema, van Meerbeeck, Rintoul, Dooms, De Leyn, Braun, Carroll, de Ryck, Vermassen, Versteegh, Veseliç, Nicholson, Rabe, Tournoy.
Analysis and interpretation of data: Annema, van Meerbeeck, Rintoul, Dooms, Deschepper, Dekkers, Praet, Vansteenkiste, Versteegh, Rabe, Tournoy.
Drafting of the manuscript: Annema, van Meerbeeck, Deschepper, Dekkers, Versteegh, Nicholson, Rabe, Tournoy.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Annema, van Meerbeeck, Rintoul, Dooms, Deschepper, Dekkers, De Leyn, Braun, Carroll, Praet, de Ryck, Vansteenkiste, Vermassen, Versteegh, Veseliç, Nicholson, Rabe, Tournoy.
Statistical analysis: Annema, Deschepper, Dekkers, Tournoy.
Obtained funding: van Meerbeeck, Rintoul, Tournoy.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Annema, Rintoul, Dooms, Braun, Carroll, Praet, Vansteenkiste, Versteegh, Veseliç, Rabe, Tournoy.
Study supervision: Annema, van Meerbeeck, Praet, Versteegh, Rabe, Tournoy.
Financial Disclosures: Drs Annema and Rabe reported that the Department of Pulmonology at Leiden University Medical Center received support for endosonography training courses from Hitachi Medical Systems (the Netherlands/Germany) and COOK (Ireland). Dr Rintoul reported that Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, received loan EBUS equipment and support for educational endosonography courses from Olympus UK. No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: Local support for data collection at Ghent University Hospital was provided by the Zorgprogramma Oncologie Gent (ZOG) (Carla Vandenabeele, Ghent University Hospital). Data collection in Papworth Hospital was supported by the UK National Health Service R&D Health Technology Assessment Program (project No. 06/302/216). Drs Rintoul and Rassl were supported in part by the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.
Role of the Sponsor: The funding sources had no role in the design and conduct of the study; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.
Previous Presentation: Part of the data from this study was presented by Dr Tournoy at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Chicago, Illinois; June 5, 2010 (abstract 7000); and by Dr Annema at the Annual Congress of the European Respiratory Society; Barcelona, Spain; September 22, 2010 (abstract 5378).
Additional Contributions: We thank the ASTER data management team (Frauke Vandewalle; Tasja Verstraete; and George Van Maele, PhD, Ghent University Hospital); Martin Hiele, MD, PhD (Leuven University Hospitals); Doriss Rassl, FRCPath, and Francis Wells, FRCS (Papworth Hospital); all the staff at the participating centers; the referring chest physicians who have generously devoted their time to this study; and the patients for their participation. We thank Jan P. Vandenbroucke, MD, PhD (Leiden University Medical Center), for his advice. None received compensation for the contributions.