Old meets modern: The use of traditional cryoprobes in the age of molecular biology

Author(s): Hetzel J, Hetzel M, Hasel C, Moeller P, Babiak A


Background: Endobronchial forceps biopsies are often small and are associated with a relevant extent of artifacts. To overcome these limitations is an important task. Especially when considering predictive factors for pharmacological therapies of lung cancer (ERCC1, RRM1) a development of biopsy techniques seems to be essential. This is the first report on a new endobronchial biopsy technique called cryobiopsy. Objectives: In this study the feasibility and the potential advantages of applying cryoprobes for harvesting samples for histological examination in flexible bronchoscopies will be focused on. Methods: In 12 patients suffering from exophytic endobronchial malignancies, a modified flexible cryoprobe was used for immediate recanalization. The extracted tissue was examined histologically regarding sample quality and sample size. Results: Tissue samples obtained using the cryoprobe showed an extraordinary good quality in terms of size (median diameter of 6.7 mm, range 4.2–13 mm) and artifact-free sample area (75% of the samples showed an artifact-free sample area of more than 75%). Additionally molecular markers were shown to be well preserved. Conclusions: The new technique termed cryobiopsy might widen the chest physician’s range of tools for diagnostic bronchoscopies.

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