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Is video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery comparable with thoracotomy in periopearitve and long-term survival outcomes for non-small cell lung cancer after neoadjuvant treatment?

A best evidence topic in thoracic surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was 'Is video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery comparable with thoracotomy in perioperative and long-term survival outcomes for patients with non-small cell lung cancer following neoadjuvant therapy intended for anatomical lung resection?'. Altogether 655 papers were found using the reported search, of which twelve studies represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, and relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. Almost all of the enrolled cohort studies reported that video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery(VATS) was comparable with thoracotomy in negative surgical margin rate, postoperative mortality, complication rate, overall survival, and disease-free survival. Moreover, seven studies found patients in the VATS group had a significantly shorter hospital stay. Furthermore, in these well matched cohort studies(six studies), it still held true that VATS was comparable with thoracotomy in long-term prognosis with enhanced recovery. However, the issue regarding surgical radicality and intraoperative conversion to thoracotomy still should be noted carefully among these patients receiving VATS surgery because all the current available evidence was retrospective based on relatively small sample sizes. Nevertheless, thoracic surgeons should not consider VATS inferior to thoracotomy for patients after neoadjuvant treatment. VATS surgery could be an alternative for selected patients with locally advanced but relatively small, peripheral, fewer positive N2 lymph nodes and non-squamous NSCLC intended for anatomic lung resection.

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