Usefulness of Bronchial washings in diagnosing lung malignancy.

Ruchee Khandelwal, Deepti Agarwal, Akriti Agarwal, Kriti Arora


Objective: The present study was done to evaluate the yield of bronchial wash in cases of lung cancer.

Methods: This is a 3 year retrospective study which included 163 cases of lung cancer in whom bronchial wash cytology had been done.

Results: The age range was from 34 to 88 years and Male: Female ratio was 5.5:1. The sensitivity of bronchial wash was found to be 24.5% and the false negative index was 32.5%. The sensitivity of endobronchial biopsy was 93.4%. Tumor typing into small cell carcinoma and non-small cell carcinoma could be done on cytology in 85% of cases positive on bronchial wash. Squamous cell carcinoma was the most common type. Interestingly one case was diagnosed as Adenoid cystic carcinoma which was later confirmed on biopsy.

Conclusion: There is still disagreement as to the value and reliability of bronchial wash cytology in diagnosing lung cancer.  Bonchial wash cytology has low sensitivity for detecting lung cancer; however, it may be a useful diagnostic test in patients in whom endobronchial biopsy cannot be done.


Bronchial wash, Cytology, Lung cancer, Sensitivity.

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