Laryngeal Cancer

Transnasal Flexible Fiberoptic in-office Laryngeal Biopsies—Our Experience with 117 Patients with Suspicious Lesions

Jacob T. Cohen and Limor Benyamini


Objective: To compare pathologic results obtained via in-office transnasal fiberoptic laryngoscopy (TFL) to those of subsequent direct laryngoscopy in order to assess the accuracy of TFL as a diagnostic tool. Patients: One hundred and seventeen patients with suspicious laryngeal lesions. Methods: All patients underwent in-office biopsies. All patients with malignant diagnosis were referred to treatment. All patients with benign diagnosis or carcinoma in situ were referred to direct laryngoscopy for definitive diagnosis. The pathological results of the specimens from both procedures were compared. Results: Adequate tissue for diagnostic purposes was obtained in 110 of 117 in-office transnasal fiberoptic laryngoscopy biopsies (94.0%). The biopsy results revealed invasive carcinoma in 42 patients (38.2%), carcinoma in situ (CIS) in 17 patients (15.4%), and benign lesions in 51 patients (46.4%). All patients with benign pathologies and carcinoma in situ were referred to biopsy under direct laryngoscopy (five patients refused and were removed from the statistics). The final pathologies identified from the biopsies on direct laryngoscopy revealed that there was an underestimation of the transnasal fiberoptic laryngoscopy results in 33 patients (a false negative rate of 31.4%, 33/105) and an overestimation in one patient. The sensitivity of transnasal fiberoptic laryngoscopy biopsy compared with direct laryngoscopy biopsy was 70.6% and the specificity was 96.7%. Conclusions: TFL with biopsy is easy, safe, and cost-effective but raises serious doubts about its clinical value due its low sensitivity rate for diagnosing suspicious lesions of the larynx. As such, it is recommended that all patients with a suspicious lesion diagnosed by TFL biopsy as being benign or CIS should be referred to direct laryngoscopy for verification of the findings.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2014;5(2):e0011