Surgical treatment of early-stage non-small-cell lung cancerSurgical treatment of early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Research group
Antwerp Surgical Training, Anatomy and Research Centre (ASTARC)
Thorax - en vaatheelkunde
Publication type
Human medicine
Source (journal)
European journal of cancer : supplements. - Amsterdam, 1990, currens
11(2013):2, p. 110-122
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
University of Antwerp
Surgical resection remains the standard of care for functionally operable early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and resectable stage IIIA disease. The role of invasive staging and restaging techniques is currently being debated, but they provide the largest biopsy samples which allow for precise mediastinal staging. Different types of operative procedures are currently available to the thoracic surgeon, and some of these interventions can be performed by video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) with the same oncological results as those by open thoracotomy. The principal aim of surgical treatment for NSCLC is to obtain a complete resection which has been precisely defined by a working group of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). Intraoperative staging of lung cancer is of utmost importance to decide on the extent of resection according to the intraoperative tumour (T) and nodal (N) status. Systematic nodal dissection is generally advocated to evaluate the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes which are subdivided into seven zones according to the most recent 7th tumour-node-metastasis (TNM) classification. Lymph-node involvement not only determines prognosis but also the administration of adjuvant therapy. In 2011, a new multidisciplinary adenocarcinoma classification was published introducing the concepts of adenocarcinoma in situ and minimally invasive adenocarcinoma. This classification has profound surgical implications. The role of limited or sublobar resection, comprising anatomical segmentectomy and wide wedge resection, is reconsidered for early-stage lesions which are more frequently encountered with the recently introduced large screening programmes. Numerous retrospective non-randomised studies suggest that sublobar resection may be an acceptable surgical treatment for early lung cancers, also when performed by VATS. More tailored, personalised therapy has recently been introduced. Quality-of-life parameters and surgical quality indicators become increasingly important to determine the short-term and long-term impact of a surgical procedure. International databases currently collect extensive surgical data, allowing more precise calculation of mortality and morbidity according to predefined risk factors. Centralisation of care has been shown to improve results. Evidence-based guidelines should be further developed to provide optimal staging and therapeutic algorithms.