The natural course of preneoplastic lesions in bronchial epithelium

Roderick H Breuer, Arifa Pasic, Egbert F Smit, Esther van Vliet, Anton Vonk Noordegraaf, Elle J Risse, Pieter E Postmus, Thomas G Sutedja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: To study the natural history of preneoplastic lesions in the bronchial mucosa of the individuals at risk.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: White light and autofluorescence bronchoscopy examinations have been done in 52 individuals harboring 134 preneoplastic lesions (WHO criteria). End points were the development of carcinoma in situ (CIS) or squamous cell cancer (SCC) or the highest category of dysplasia up until March 1, 2003 for the remaining preneoplastic lesions.

RESULTS: Distribution and outcome of preneoplastic lesions have been found to be unrelated to various risk factors such as smoking history, past history of cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nonstepwise changes of preneoplastic lesions are seen. Regression rate has been 54%. Progression to CIS/SCC has been 13.4% (18 of 134) and was for severe dysplasia, significantly higher (P < 0.003) than preneoplastic lesions showing lower-grade dysplasia (squamous metaplasia, mild and moderate dysplasia). Time to progression was not significantly different. However, when analyzed per individual, no significant difference of progression rate between individuals with or without severe dysplasia was seen (39% versus 26%; P = 0.36).

CONCLUSIONS: The 54% regression rate of all preneoplastic lesions, 26% to 39% progression rate to CIS/SCC of individuals with lower-grade dysplasia or severe dysplasia with no significant difference in progression rate and time to progression combined with nonstepwise histologic changes unrelated to the initial histologic grading indicate that one cannot differentiate the potentially more malignant preneoplastic lesions among the many preneoplastic lesions present in the bronchial mucosa. The initial WHO classification of any preneoplastic lesion cannot be reliably used for accurate risk assessment of field carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-43
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number2 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2005

Cite this