Bellvitge Hospital combines endobronchial ultrasound with cryobiopsy to improve diagnosis of lung cancer and other diseases

The Respiratory Endoscopy Unit of the Pneumology Service at the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) has performed this September for the first time a procedure called CRYOEBUS (transbronchial mediastinal cryobiopsy guided by endobronchial ultrasound), which combines endobronchial ultrasound and cryobiopsy in order to improve the diagnosis of lung tumours, lymphomas and other diseases located in the mediastinum.

Thanks to the combination of both techniques, it is possible to obtain biopsies of lymph nodes and mediastinal lesions in an outpatient procedure, without having to use invasive surgery. "Through the path of the needle with which we make the endobronchial ultrasound mediastinal puncture, we pass the cryoprobe, which allows us to obtain a biopsy of the lymph node or a specific lung mass," explains Dr Rosa López, from the Respiratory Endoscopy Unit of the Pneumology Service at the HUB.

Until now, the lung cancer and other mediastinum pathologies diagnosis, such as lymphomas, sarcoidosis or some benign lung diseases, has been carried out with endobronchial ultrasound, which allows the ultrasound-guided puncture of a lymph node, obtaining a cytological sample. By freezing the distal end of the cryoprobe, it is possible to obtain a biopsy with a larger size and preserved structure.

This is a technique that has already been used in other hospitals in Spain, with initial results that have been quite positive in terms of improved diagnostic yield, especially in more complex cases, such as lymphomas.

"We already have evidence that in the case of lung cancer, lymphoproliferative diseases and other benign pathologies, such as sarcoidosis, being able to obtain a biopsy of the lymph node can provide greater cost-effectiveness in diagnosis," says Dr López. She adds that one of the main areas for application of CRYOEBUS will be these lymphoproliferative diseases, which are difficult to diagnose by cytology.