Objective: To improve the prognosis of cN2, N3 non-small cell lung cancer, we performed induction chemoradiotherapy (carboplatin-taxane chemotherapy and concurrent 50-Gy radiation) followed by surgery.
Methods: Patients with pathologically proven non-small cell lung cancer with bulky cN2, N3 disease were enrolled. Forty-one patients underwent an operation after chemoradiotherapy from January 2000 to April 2006. Either carboplatin-paclitaxel (n = 19) or carboplatin-docetaxel (n = 22) chemotherapy was randomly used. Two cycles of chemotherapy were performed with concurrent radiation (50 Gy). In all cases, conventional radiological reevaluations were performed; in the latest 21 cases, reevaluations with positron-emission tomography with fludeoxyglucose F 18 were also performed.
Results: In all 41 cases, complete resections were performed, with no operative mortality. The histologically complete response rate, major response rate, and minor response rate were 17.1% (7/41), 56.1% (23/41), and 26.8% (11/41), respectively. The 5-year overall survival was 52.7%. There were no differences in survival between taxane groups. Both the complete response and the major response groups revealed a significantly better 5-year survivals than the minor response group (85.7%, P = .044, 52.4%, P = .01). Even with persistent N2 disease, the 5-year survival in the major response group (66%) was promising. With the combination of conventional computed tomography and positron-emission tomography with fludeoxyglucose F 18 for reevaluation, eligible patients could be selected for this protocol.
Conclusion: Surgery after chemoradiotherapy (carboplatin-taxane and 50-Gy radiation) for bulky cN2, N3 non-small cell lung cancer can be safely performed with promising results. Even with persistent N2 disease, the survival in the major response group was promising.