Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized and nonrandomized trials on safety and efficacy of video-assisted thoracic surgery lobectomy for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer

J Clin Oncol. 2009 May 20;27(15):2553-62. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.18.2733. Epub 2009 Mar 16.


Purpose: The current randomized trials comparing video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) lobectomy with open lobectomy for patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have been of small size. We performed the present meta-analysis of the randomized and nonrandomized comparative studies in an attempt to assess the safety and efficacy of VATS lobectomy.

Methods: Electronic searches identified 21 eligible comparative studies (two randomized and 19 nonrandomized) for inclusion. Two reviewers independently appraised each study. Meta-analysis was performed by combining the results of reported incidence of morbidity and mortality, recurrence, and 5-year mortality rates. The relative risk (RR) was used as a summary statistic.

Results: There were no significant statistical differences between VATS and open lobectomy in terms of postoperative prolonged air leak (P = .71), arrhythmia (P = .86), pneumonia (P = .09), and mortality (P = .49). VATS did not demonstrate any significant difference in locoregional recurrence (P = .24), as compared with the open lobectomy arm, but the data suggested a reduced systemic recurrence rate (P = .03) and an improved 5-year mortality rate of VATS (P = .04). There was no evidence to suggest heterogeneity of trial results. Fourteen studies reported VATS to open lobectomy conversion rate ranging from 0% to 15.7% (median = 8.1%).

Conclusion: Both randomized and nonrandomized trials suggest that VATS lobectomy is an appropriate procedure for selected patients with early-stage NSCLC when compared with open surgery.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Video-Assisted Surgery*