Objective: Lung cancer invading the chest wall without lymph node metastasis has recently been downstaged to stage IIb. To validate this reclassification, we reviewed our experience with en bloc lung and chest wall resection for bronchogenic carcinoma.
Methods: From February 1985 to November 1999, 95 en bloc lung and chest wall resections were performed on 94 patients (62 men and 32 women). The median age was 66 years (range, 38-93 years). Pancoast tumors were excluded. Factors that may affect survival were analyzed with univariate analysis, and factors found to be significant univariately were analyzed multivariately to determine whether the significant association remained after adjusting for other significant factors.
Results: Presenting symptoms included chest wall pain in 42 patients, cough in 17 patients, and "other" in 16 patients. Twenty patients were asymptomatic. Ninety-two patients were current or former smokers (median pack-years, 50; range, 8-150 pack-years). Seventy-five lobectomies, 12 pneumonectomies, 5 bilobectomies, 2 wedge excisions, and 1 segmentectomy were performed. The number of ribs resected ranged from 1 to 5 (median, 3). Sixty-one patients required chest wall reconstruction (prostheses in 60 and bovine pericardium in 1). Operative morbidity and mortality were 44.2% and 6.3%, respectively. Sixty-five cancers were classified as T3 N0 M0, 16 as T3 N1 M0, and 14 as T3 N2 M0. Squamous cell carcinoma was present in 56 tumors, adenocarcinoma in 25, large cell carcinoma in 11, and "other" in 3. Follow-up was complete in 86 (96.6%) of 89 operative survivors and ranged from 1 month to 15 years (median, 19 months). Overall 5-year actuarial survival was 38.7%. Five-year survival for patients with stage IIb disease (T3 N0 M0) was 44.3% compared with only 26.3% for those with stage IIIa disease (T3 N1 M0 or T3 N2 M0, P =.0082). Women had a better 5-year survival than men (52.9% vs 31.0%, P =.0122). The best 5-year survival was observed in women with stage IIb disease (61.2%). All other variables (age, tumor size, histopathology, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, extent of operation, depth of invasion, and adjuvant therapy) did not significantly affect survival.
Conclusions: En bloc resection of lung cancer invading the chest wall is safe but associated with significant morbidity. Long-term survival is stage and sex dependent. The best survival is observed in women who have T3 N0 M0 disease (stage IIb).