A new transbronchial biopsy technique, devised by a University of Chicago radiologist, may help resolve the clinical problem of early diagnosis of lung cancer.
To the clinician, a suspicious mass seen on a routine x-ray poses a diagnostic dilemma: Is it tuberculosis, fungus disease, a nonspecific infection, or is it really carcinoma? To the radiologist, the roentgen appearance of such a mass is not conclusive and it may even be deceptive.
"In this situation," said John J. Fennessy, MB, "the radiologist and clinician may be lulled into a false sense of security only to be confronted later on by relentless growth of the lesion and perhaps metastases." The conventional diagnostic methods such as sputum cytology, tuberculin skin test, and bronchoscopy often fail to confirm or rule out lung cancer, Dr. Fennessy explained. He added that for many lung cancer patients the x-ray diagnosis of their condition cannot be made until