Therapeutic bronchoscopy followed by sequential radiochemotherapy in the management of life-threatening tracheal adenoid cystic carcinoma: a case report

Mia Elhidsi, Jamal Zaini, Aziza Ghanie, Aida Lutfi Huswatun, Romi Beginta, Susan Hendriarini Mety, Elisna Syahruddin

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lung is a distinctive salivary-gland-type malignant epithelial neoplasm that rarely presents as a primary tumor of the respiratory tract. Complete surgical resection remains the treatment of choice for adenoid cystic carcinoma. We present a case of large ACC tumors that caused severe central airway obstruction and were effectively treated with therapeutic bronchoscopy followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Case presentation: A 31-year-old Malay Indonesian female patient who was a nonsmoker and had no family history of cancer was admitted to the emergency ward because of worsening breathlessness accompanied by stridor since 1 week prior. Chest computed tomography revealed segmental atelectasis of the left lung; a mass on the left main bronchus, with infiltrates in segments 1, 2, and 3 of the left lung; and consolidation in the left inferior lobe, with narrowing of the main left bronchus. Lobulated masses obstructing almost the entire distal trachea up to the carina and the entire left main bronchus were found on bronchoscopy. Owing to the large tumors causing severe central airway obstruction, the medical team decided to perform central airway mass removal through rigid bronchoscopy. A neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser was used first to facilitate mass shrinkage. After the laser treatment, mechanical mass removal using a rigid scope was performed. The tracheal and carinal lumens were opened to > 50% of their diameter, with the left main bronchus lumen opened only slightly. After the treatment, the patient was stable, and no stridor was found. Adjuvant intensity-modulated radiotherapy and chemotherapy were performed after the therapeutic bronchoscopy. At the end of the entire treatment, reevaluation by thoracic computed tomography scan and bronchoscopy revealed no remaining mass. Conclusions: In cases of nonresectable large adenoid cystic carcinoma tumors with life-threatening central airway obstruction, therapeutic bronchoscopy followed by sequential radiochemotherapy might achieve a complete response outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Case report
  • Central airway obstruction
  • Radiochemotherapy
  • Therapeutic bronchoscopy


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