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Original article
Long-term quality-adjusted survival following therapeutic bronchoscopy for malignant central airway obstruction
  1. Philip Ong,
  2. Horiana B Grosu,
  3. Labib Debiane,
  4. Roberto F Casal,
  5. George A Eapen,
  6. Carlos A Jimenez,
  7. Laila Noor,
  8. David E Ost
  1. Department of Pulmonary Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David E Ost, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA; dost{at}


Background While therapeutic bronchoscopy has been used to treat malignant central (CAO) airway obstruction for >25 years, there are no studies quantifying the impact of therapeutic bronchoscopy on long-term quality-adjusted survival.

Methods We conducted a prospective observational study of consecutive patients undergoing therapeutic bronchoscopy for CAO. Patients had follow-up at 1 week and monthly thereafter until death. Outcomes included technical success (ie, relief of anatomic obstruction), dyspnoea, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and quality-adjusted survival.

Results Therapeutic bronchoscopy was performed on 102 patients with malignant CAO. Partial or complete technical success was achieved in 90% of patients. At 7 days postbronchoscopy, dyspnoea improved (mean ∆Borg-day-7=−1.8, 95% CI −2.2 to −1.3, p<0.0001) and HRQOL improved (median prebronchoscopy 0.618 utiles, 25%–75% IQR 0.569 to 0.699, mean ∆utility-day-7+0.047 utiles, 95% CI +0.023 to 0.071, p=0.0002). Improvements in dyspnoea and HRQOL were maintained long-term. Compared with the prebronchoscopy baseline, HRQOL per day of life postbronchoscopy improved (mean ∆utility-long-term+0.036 utiles, 95% CI +0.014 to 0.057, p=0.002). Median quality-adjusted survival was 109 quality-adjusted life-days (QALDs) (95% CI 74 to 201 QALDs). Factors associated with longer quality-adjusted survival included better functional status, treatment-naïve tumour, endobronchial disease, less dyspnoea, shorter time from diagnosis to bronchoscopy, absence of cardiac disease, bronchoscopic dilation and receiving chemotherapy.

Conclusions Therapeutic bronchoscopy improves HRQOL as compared with baseline, resulting in approximately a 5.8% improvement in HRQOL per day of life. The risk-benefit profile in these carefully selected patients was very favourable.

Trial registration number Results; NCT03326570.

  • bronchoscopy
  • lung cancer
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  • Contributors DEO was the principal investigator (PI) for this study and was involved in project oversight, organisation, data collection and auditing, statistical analysis and manuscript writing. PO did the statistical analysis and was involved in manuscript writing. HBG, LD, CAJ, GAE and RFC were involved in data collection and auditing, and manuscript writing. LN contributed to data collection, auditing and review.

  • Funding This study was funded by NIH/NCI biostatistic core (P30CA016672), biostatistics core, at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Institutional Research Grant from MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Institutional review board approval was obtained from The University of Texas MD Anderson IRB Committee 4.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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