Background: Malignant endobronchial mass (MEM) has poor prognosis, cryotherapy is reportedly to diagnose MEM, however, the therapeutic role of cryotherapy impacts on survival has not be well addressed. Methods: Cohort data on post-cryotherapy MEM patients in a university-affiliated hospital between 2007 and 2012 were evaluated. Factors that impact survival of these subjects were analyzed using multivariate regression analysis. Results: During study period, 67 patients (47 males), with median age was 63 years (range, 50-77 and median performance status of 2 (inter-quartile range [IQR], 2-3). Twenty-five had primary lung squamous cell carcinoma, 14 primary had lung adenocarcinoma, seven had metastatic colon adenocarcinoma, four had sarcoma, four had non-small cell lung cancer, four had small cell lung cancer, three had large cell carcinoma, two had lymphoma, one had muco-epidermoid carcinoma, two had esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and one had metastatic renal cell carcinoma. MEM were observed as follows: 15 at the trachea, 14 at the left main bronchus, 12 at the right main bronchus, 12 at the right upper lobe bronchus, five at the right intermediate bronchus, three at the right lower lobe bronchus, three at the left upper lobe bronchus, two at the left lower lobe bronchus, and one at the right middle lobe bronchus Post-cryotherapy complications included minor bleeding (n = 14) and need for multiple procedures (n = 12); outcomes were relief of symptoms (n = 56), improved performance status (n = 49) and ability to receive chemotherapy (n = 43). After controlling for other variables, performance status improved after cryotherapy (odds ratio [OR] 3.7; p = 0.03; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2~10.7) and ability to receive chemotherapy (OR 4.3; p = 0.02; 95% CI 1.4~13.7) remained significant survival factor. Patients who received chemotherapy and cryotherapy had better survival than patients who received only cryotherapy (median, 472 vs. 169 days; log-rank test, p = 0.02; HR 0.37; 95% CI 0.16-0.89). Conclusion: Cryotherapy could be useful management of MEM by flexible bronchoscopy. The performance status after cryotherapy improved and caused further chemotherapy possible for the study patients and thereby, improved survival. However, the mechanism in detail of cryotherapy improve survival should be explored in the future.
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