Background: According to current guidelines, transesophageal ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) can be performed as an alternative for surgical staging to confirm mediastinal metastases in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To date however, data regarding the routine use of EUS-FNA in the preoperative staging of unselected patients with NSCLC are limited.
Aims and objectives: (1) To evaluate the diagnostic value of EUS-FNA in consecutive, patients with NSCLC regardless of nodal size at CT. (2) To determine the impact of EUS-FNA on the prevention of surgical staging procedures. (3) To assess the accuracy of mediastinal staging by combining EUS-FNA and mediastinoscopy. (4) To investigate whether a subgroup of patients exists that can be accurately staged by EUS-FNA alone.
Methods: 152 consecutive operable patients with proven or suspected NSCLC who underwent EUS-FNA were retrospectively analyzed. In the absence of mediastinal metastases, mediastinoscopy and/or thoracotomy with lymph node dissection was performed.
Results: The prevalence of mediastinal metastases was 49%. Sensitivity, negative predictive value (NPV) and accuracy of EUS-FNA for N2/N3 disease were 74%, 73% and 85% respectively, whereas these values for the combined staging of EUS-FNA and mediastinoscopy were 92%, 85% and 95%. Additional surgical staging in patients staged N0 at EUS-FNA reduces the false negative EUS-findings by 55%. The NPV of EUS-FNA for left-sided tumors was 68%. EUS-FNA prevented surgical staging procedures in 60 of 152 patients (39%). No major complications occurred during EUS-FNA.
Conclusion: Routine use of EUS-FNA in unselected patients with NSCLC reduces the need for surgical staging procedures in nearly half of patients. Additional surgical staging in patients without nodal metastases at EUS-FNA reduces the false negative EUS-FNA findings considerably regardless of the location of the primary lung tumor.
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