Endoscopic therapy for cancer that involves the tracheobronchial tree is currently available for two distinct types of lesions: radiographically occult superficial squamous cell carcinoma and advanced malignant tumors that cause severe airway obstruction. Photodynamic therapy, which uses a photosensitizing agent, is effective for managing early superficial squamous cell carcinoma. Neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser therapy has been effective in the palliative management of patients with advanced or recurrent malignant obstructive airway lesions, either alone or in combination with intraluminal radiation therapy. Most recently, endobronchial prosthetic devices (stents) have been used in patients with advanced airway obstruction. The use of each of these modalities in the management of lung cancer is reviewed.
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