Robotic-assisted navigation bronchoscopy (R-ANB) is used to target peripheral pulmonary nodules that are difficult to biopsy using conventional approaches. Frozen sections are requested to confirm these lesions have been localized and/or to diagnose neoplasms that can be immediately resected.


To estimate diagnostic concordance between frozen section diagnosis (FSD) and formalin-fixed tissue diagnosis (FFTD) in biopsies obtained with R-ANB, calculate the sensitivity and specificity of FSD and FFTD for a diagnosis of malignancy, and evaluate whether the residual tissue that can be fixed in formalin after frozen section still has sufficient material for molecular studies.

Data Sources.—

The results of consecutive FSD rendered on biopsies performed with R-ANB during a 30-month period were used to calculate the metrics listed above. FFTD and/or the diagnoses rendered on computed tomography–guided core biopsy subsequently performed in patients with negative R-ANB and/or lung resections in patients with malignancies were used as true-positive results. The overall concordance between FSD and FFTD in 226 lesions from 203 patients was 72%. Frozen section diagnosed 76 of 123 malignancies with 100% specificity and 68% sensitivity. Adequate material was available in 92% of biopsies where next-generation sequencing and other molecular studies were requested.


Intraoperative consultations are helpful to diagnose a variety of lung lesions and help surgeons confirm that targets have been accurately reached by R-ANB. Malignancies can be diagnosed with 100% specificity but only 68% sensitivity. The performance of frozen section did not interfere with the subsequent analysis of tissue with molecular studies in most cases.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Competing Interests

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.