tissue diagnosis

Last reviewed 01/2018

Tissue diagnosis of suspected lung cancer is indicated to:

  • resolve diagnostic uncertainty
  • help plan appropriate therapy

Options include:

  • flexible fibre-optic bronchoscopy - but specimens may be small and are easily crushed
  • cytology of sputum, pleural fluid, bronchial brushings, washings obtained at bronchoscopy
  • percutaneous needle aspirate or biopsy
  • thoracotomy

However, specimens may be subject to a high degree of sampling error and be unrepresentative of the entire tumour as such lesions are often highly heterogenous.