Thoracoscopic lobectomy: a safe and effective strategy for patients receiving induction therapy for non-small cell lung cancer

Rebecca P Petersen, Duykhanh Pham, Eric M Toloza, William R Burfeind, David H Harpole, Steven I Hanish, Thomas A D'Amico
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2006, 82 (1): 214-8; discussion 219

BACKGROUND: Thoracoscopic lobectomy is an accepted oncologic approach for early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We conducted a retrospective study of patients who underwent lobectomy after induction therapy to determine the feasibility of thoracoscopic lobectomy compared with conventional thoracotomy lobectomy.

METHODS: The outcomes of 97 consecutive patients with NSCLC who received induction therapy followed by lobectomy from 1996 to 2005 were reviewed. Outcome variables analyzed included complete resection, chest tube duration, length of hospitalization, 30-day mortality, hemorrhage, pneumonia, respiratory failure, and other major complications. The Student t test and chi2 or RxC contingency tables were used to compare continuous and categoric variables, respectively.

RESULTS: Lobectomy was performed by thoracotomy in 85 patients and thoracoscopically in 12 patients (1 conversion), with complete resection in all patients. All patients received induction chemotherapy, and 74 (76%) received induction radiotherapy as well: 66 of 85 (78%) in the thoracotomy group and 8 of 12 (67%) in the thoracoscopy group. The overall median survival was 2.3 years, with no difference between the groups. Patients undergoing a thoracoscopic lobectomy had a shorter median hospital stay (3.5 vs 5 days, p = 0.0024) and chest tube duration (2 vs 4 days, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in 30-day mortality, hemorrhage, pneumonia, or respiratory failure.

CONCLUSIONS: Thoracoscopic lobectomy is a feasible approach for selected patients undergoing resection after induction therapy, and is associated with shorter hospital stay and chest tube duration. Long-term follow-up of survival will determine the role of thoracoscopic lobectomy in the management of patients after induction therapy.

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