Long-term outcomes after a variety of video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy approaches for clinical stage IA lung cancer: a multi-institutional study

Norihisa Shigemura, Akinori Akashi, Soichiro Funaki, Tomoyuki Nakagiri, Masayoshi Inoue, Noriyoshi Sawabata, Hiroyuki Shiono, Masato Minami, Yukiyasu Takeuchi, Meinoshin Okumura, Yoshiki Sawa
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2006, 132 (3): 507-12

BACKGROUND: Although video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) has been in use for more than a decade, its application to major lung resection for lung cancer is still not widely practiced. The success of a cancer operation is judged by the long-term survival of the treated patients. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to evaluate long-term outcomes associated with various video-assisted lobectomy techniques and conventional surgery in patients with peripheral non-small cell lung cancer less than or equal to 2 cm in diameter (stage IA).

METHODS: A multi-institutional, retrospective review was performed in 145 consecutive patients. Patients with clinical stage IA disease, with tumor size less than or equal to 2 cm in diameter, from three institutions underwent a complete VATS (c-VATS, n = 56), an assisted VATS (a-VATS, n = 34), or a conventional open (open, n = 55) approach for pulmonary lobectomy and lymph node dissection.

RESULTS: Patients undergoing lobectomy and lymph node dissection with c-VATS had less blood loss, faster recovery, shorter hospitalization, and longer operating times than did patients undergoing the lobectomy with the a-VATS and open approaches. At a mean follow-up of 38.8 months, Kaplan-Meier probabilities of survival at 5 years were as follows: c-VATS, 96.7%; a-VATS, 95.2%; open, 97.2%. There was no significant difference in the rate of recurrence among the 3 different procedures.

CONCLUSION: VATS lobectomy, a safe procedure with earlier return to normal activities, can be regarded as an acceptable cancer operation for the patients with peripheral non-small cell lung cancer less than or equal to 2 cm in diameter (clinical stage IA) with the same long-term survivals as open surgery.

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