Transbronchial lung biopsy (TBLB) in the diagnosis of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is not a common approach, although TBLB is often performed in diffuse lung diseases. We aimed to examine the diagnostic value and safety of TBLB in LAM patients based on the data collected in our center.
We reviewed LAM patients registered in our LAM Clinic from December 8, 2006, to December 31, 2019. All patients with definite or probable diagnosis of LAM who had been examined using TBLB were included. All available pathology slides were reviewed by an experienced LAM pathologist. All complications were reviewed by the medical records and confirmed using telephone interviews.
The pathology results of 86 patients (including 74 definite LAM and 12 probable LAM) were available. The positive rate of TBLB in LAM patients was 49/86 (57.0%). The positive rates of SMA, HMB-45, ER, and PR in LAM patients were 97.6%, 93%, 84.6%, and 78.4% respectively. The positive rate of TBLB was 40%, 60% and 60.8% in patients with CT Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III respectively, and the difference was not significant. Patients who had 3-4 or 5-6 biopsied specimens had a higher rate of diagnosis than those with 1-2 biopsied specimens. Four patients (5.6%) reported pneumothorax. No major hemoptysis was reported.
TBLB is a feasible and safe procedure for obtaining a pathological diagnosis of LAM. Taking more than 2 samples during the biopsy procedure increased the rate of diagnosis.