Objective: Sublobar resections may offer a method of increasing resection rates in patients with lung cancer and poor lung function, but are thought to increase recurrence and therefore compromise survival for stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To test this hypothesis we have compared the long-term outcome from lobectomy and anatomical segmentectomy in high-risk cases as defined by predicted postoperative FEV1 (ppoFEV1) less than 40%.
Methods: Over a 7-year period 55 patients (27% of all resections for stage I NSCLC) with ppoFEV1<40% underwent resection of stage I NSCLC. The 17 patients who underwent anatomical segmentectomy were individually matched to 17 patients operated by lobectomy on the bases of gender, age, use of VATS, tumour location and respiratory function. We compared their perioperative course, tumour recurrence and survival.
Results: There were no significant differences in hospital mortality (one case in each group), complications or hospital stay. Overall 5-year survival was 69%. There were no differences in recurrence rates (18% in both groups) or survival (64% after lobectomy and 70% after segmentectomy). There was preservation of pulmonary function after segmentectomy (median gain of 12%) compared to lobectomy (median loss of 12%) (P=0.02).
Conclusions: Anatomical segmentectomy allowed for surgical resection in patients with stage I NSCLC and impaired respiratory reserve without compromising oncological results but with preservation in respiratory function.