Long-term survival of a poor-risk octogenarian following wedge resection under VATS for small-cell lung cancer: report of a case

Surg Today. 2000;30(3):286-90. doi: 10.1007/s005950050061.


We describe herein the case of an 81-year-old man who has remained disease-free for more than 3 years after undergoing a wedge resection of cStage I small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) under video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), with no adjunct chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The patient had compromised pulmonary function and was a poor surgical risk. As he could not have endured a conventional lobectomy or intensive chemotherapy, a nonanatomical wedge resection of the area of lung involved by the primary tumor was carried out under VATS. Cancer cells from the resected tumor were cultured and the growth characteristics and sensitivity to 12 anticancer drugs were examined. The majority of primary cultured cells proliferated in a monolayer, like paving stones, resembling the growth pattern of non-small-cell carcinoma cells in vitro. The subcultured cells were resistant to most of the drugs, but showed weak sensitivity to cisplatin (CDDP), adriamycin (ADR), and vincristine (VCR). Therefore, the patient was discharged with no adjunct postoperative therapy and was followed up at an outpatient clinic. He has remained alive and disease-free for more than 3 years. Thus, we considered that performing wedge resection under VATS for a primary tumor could be appropriate treatment for selected patients with cStage I SCLC in a peripheral region, especially if they are elderly and a poor surgical risk.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Pneumonectomy / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survivors
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / methods*