Background: We have previously shown that intraoperative brachytherapy decreases the local recurrences associated with sublobar resections for small stage Ia nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this report, we present the outcomes of sublobar resection with brachytherapy compared with lobectomy in patients with stage Ib tumors.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 167 stage Ib NSCLC patients: 126 underwent lobectomy and 41 sublobar resection with (125)I brachytherapy over the resection staple line. Endpoints were perioperative outcomes, incidence of recurrence, and disease-free and overall survival.
Results: Patients undergoing sublobar resections had significantly worse preoperative pulmonary function. Hospital mortality, nonfatal complications, and median length of stay were similar in the two groups. Median follow-up was 25.1 months. Local recurrence in sublobar resection patients was 2 of 41 (4.8%), similar to the lobectomy group: 4 of 126 (3.2%; p = 0.6). At 4 years, both groups had equivalent disease-free survival (sublobar group, 43.0%; median, 37.7 months; and lobectomy group, 42.8%; median 41.8 months, p = 0.57) and overall survival (sublobar group, 54.1%; median, 50.2 months; and lobectomy group, 51.8%; median, 56.9 months; p = 0.38).
Conclusions: Sublobar resection with brachytherapy reduced local recurrence rates to the equivalent of lobectomy in patients with stage Ib NSCLC, and resulted in similar perioperative outcomes and disease-free and overall survival, despite being used in patients with compromised lung function. We recommend the addition of intraoperative brachytherapy to sublobar resections in stage Ib patients who cannot tolerate a lobectomy.