How is bronchial stenosis characterized on chest radiographs for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019
  • Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Bronchial stenosis and poststenotic changes are common, because most NSCLCs demonstrate intraluminal growth. Narrowing of the main bronchi or a complete cutoff can be identified on chest radiographs.

An endobronchial lesion commonly leads to partial or complete atelectasis and is the most common sign of bronchogenic carcinoma. Complete endobronchial obstruction can sometimes produce distal mucoid impaction, which may be visible on plain radiographs as a tubular or branching opacity.

Atelectasis of a segment, a lobe, or an entire lung may occur.

Radiographic signs include patchy irregular or homogeneous opacities in a lobar or segmental distribution. A loss of lung volume may be seen, as well as displacement of interlobar fissures, the mediastinum, the diaphragm, and the ribs.

Postobstructive pneumonia may be identified in a segmental or lobar distribution. In patients with recurrent pneumonia, bronchogenic carcinoma is suggested unless proven otherwise.

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