Surgical resection is justified in non-small cell lung cancer patients with node negative T4 satellite lesions

Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Mar;87(3):893-9. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2008.11.073.


Background: The management of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) depends on the stage, with a satellite nodule in the same lobe being classified as T4 stage IIIB even in node negative patients. Controversy exists as to the optimal management of these patients. Our objectives were to evaluate the outcomes in surgically resected patients with a T4 satellite lesion and to analyze the prognostic factors associated with outcome.

Methods: Patients who underwent resection for T4 (satellite nodule) N0-2M0 were identified. Patients with pure bronchoalveolar carcinoma were excluded. The primary endpoint studied was overall survival. Multiple covariates were analyzed for association with survival and recurrence.

Results: A total of 51 T4 N0-2 patients (men 22, women 29; median age 71 years [48 to 87]) underwent resection over a 7-year period. At a median follow-up of 26.4 months the estimated 5-year overall survival was 26% (95% confidence interval [CI] 14% to 50%; median survival 25.2 months). The estimated 5-year overall survival for T4 N0 patients was 40% (95% CI 23% to 68%; median survival 34.8 months). Size of the primary tumor, histology, and nodal status were significantly associated with overall survival; size and nodal status were significantly associated with disease-free survival.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that T4 (satellite nodule) N0 patients experienced excellent survival after surgical resection. These data support surgical resection in node negative patients. Size, histology, and nodal status were important prognostic variables associated with outcome. Consideration should be given to multimodality treatment in patients with adverse prognostic features. Further larger multiinstitutional studies are required to validate these findings.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome