Background: We conducted a study of patients who underwent anatomic resection with adjuvant chemotherapy to determine if thoracoscopic lobectomy enables more effective administration of adjuvant chemotherapy than lobectomy by thoracotomy.
Methods: We reviewed the outcomes of 100 consecutive patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who underwent lobectomy and received adjuvant chemotherapy (1999 to 2004). The variables analyzed were time to initiation of chemotherapy, percentage of planned regimen received, number of delayed or reduced chemotherapy doses, toxicity grade, length of hospitalization, chest tube duration, 30-day mortality, and major complications (pneumonia, respiratory failure, atrial fibrillation). The chi2 test and Student t test were used to compare dichotomous and continuous variables, respectively.
Results: Complete resection was performed by thoracotomy in 43 patients and by thoracoscopy in 57 (no conversions). All patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 20 (20%) received adjuvant radiation therapy: 13 (30%) of 43 in the thoracotomy group and 7 (12%) of 57 in the thoracoscopy group (p = 0.04). Patients undergoing thoracoscopic lobectomy had significantly fewer delayed (18% versus 58%, p < 0.001) and reduced (26% versus 49%, p = 0.02) chemotherapy doses. A higher percentage of patients undergoing thoracoscopic resection received 75% or more of their planned adjuvant regimen without delayed or reduced doses (61% versus 40%, p = 0.03). There were no significant differences in time to initiation of chemotherapy or toxicity. Patients undergoing a thoracoscopic lobectomy had a shorter median length of hospitalization (4 days versus 5 days, p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Thoracoscopy was associated with an overall higher compliance rate and fewer delayed or reduced doses of chemotherapy in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.