Morbidity and mortality of major pulmonary resections in patients with early-stage lung cancer: initial results of the randomized, prospective ACOSOG Z0030 trial

Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Mar;81(3):1013-9; discussion 1019-20. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2005.06.066.


Background: Little prospective, multiinstitutional data exist regarding the morbidity and mortality after major pulmonary resections for lung cancer or whether a mediastinal lymph node dissection increases morbidity and mortality.

Methods: Prospectively collected 30-day postoperative data was analyzed from 1,111 patients undergoing pulmonary resection who were enrolled from July 1999 to February 2004 in a randomized trial comparing lymph node sampling versus mediastinal lymph node dissection for early stage lung cancer.

Results: Of the 1,111 patients randomized, 1,023 were included in the analysis. Median age was 68 years (range, 23 to 89 years); 52% were men. Lobectomy was performed in 766 (75%) and pneumonectomy in 42 (4%). Pathologic stage was IA in 424 (42%), IB in 418 (41%), IIA in 37 (4%), IIB in 97 (9%), and III in 45 (5%). Lymph node sampling was performed in 498 patients and lymph node dissection in 525. Operative mortality was 2.0% (10 of 498) for lymph node sampling and 0.76% (4 of 525) for lymph node dissection. Complications occurred in 38% of patients in each group. Lymph node dissection had a longer median operative time and greater total chest tube drainage (15 minutes, 121 mL, respectively). There was no difference in the median hospitalization, which was 6 days in each group (p = 0.404).

Conclusions: Complete mediastinal lymphadenectomy adds little morbidity to a pulmonary resection for lung cancer. These data from a current, multiinstitutional cohort of patients who underwent a major pulmonary resection constitute a new baseline with which to compare results in the future.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drainage / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Complications / classification
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects