BACKGROUND: Endobronchial tumors cause?life-threatening dyspnea and can lower the quality of life due to central airway obstruction.?In those cases with an intraluminal tumor, various bronchoscopic techniques are available for tumor debulking. The therapeutic effect of bronchoscopic electrocautery for palliation in patients with a symptomatic tumor obstruction was studied. METHOD: Nineteen patients with bronchogenic carcinomas (n=15) and metastatic tumors affecting the bronchi (n=4), between March 2002 and March 2005, were enrolled in this study. Electrocautery was performed under local anesthesia using an electroprobe and diathermic snare. Using flexible bronchoscopy, a follow-up bronchoscopic examination was performed 3-4 days later. Symptom improvement was evaluated by FEV1, FVC and dyspnea score (Modified Borg Category Scale (0~10)), both before and after the electrocautery. RESULTS: The success rate of electrocautery on the follow up examination was 84%. Patients with endoluminal airway lesions had a mean overall decrease in the size of the obstruction to 47.8+/-15.7%. The mean Improvement in the dyspnea score immediately after the endobronchial tumor debulking was 2.78+/-1.42.The average improvements in the FEV1 and FVC after electrocautery were 0.32+/-0.19L and 0.5+/-0.22L, respectively. There were 2 cases of complications related with electrocautery (one each of pneumothorax and pneumonia). CONCLUSION: Electrocautery using an electroprobe and diathermic snare was an effective and safe palliative treatment for a symptomatic endoluminal airway obstruction in lung cancer.