Research Article

Laser treatment for carcinoma of the bronchus.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 01 January 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:12
  1. M R Hetzel,
  2. F J Millard,
  3. R Ayesh,
  4. C E Bridges,
  5. E M Nanson,
  6. C P Swain,
  7. I P Williams


    Laser treatment in carcinoma of the bronchus is essentially palliative and is suitable for only a few patients. Patients selected for laser treatment must have predominantly endobronchial growth with normal bronchial anatomy still identifiable and symptoms due to the obstruction or to haemoptysis. A total of 34 patients with carcinoma of the bronchus were treated with argon gas or neodynium yttrium aluminium garnet crystal lasers. Good palliation was obtained in just over half the cases of partial obstruction of the trachea or main bronchus, but best results were obtained in lesions of the trachea or main carina. Re-expansion of the collapsed lung was achieved in some cases but with considerable risk of pneumonia. Haemoptysis was controlled at least partly in several cases. Laser treatment has the advantage of having no toxicity or dose limit and may be used in cases of poor respiratory function. The procedure was better tolerated than radiotherapy or chemotherapy and its relatively lower cost may justify setting up laser units in major cities.