Sarcoidal reactions in regional lymph nodes of patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer predict improved disease-free survival: a pilot case-control study

Hum Pathol. 2012 Mar;43(3):333-8. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Sarcoidal reactions occurring in regional lymph nodes of patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma appear to be limited to patients with stage I disease. The prognostic significance of this remains unknown. Such reactions are thought to represent a cell-mediated antitumor response and have been associated with improved outcomes in other solid organ malignancies. We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients undergoing lobectomy with curative intent for non-small cell lung carcinoma. Eligible cases were selected based on pathologic reports, with matched controls then drawn from the same surgical cohort. One hundred fifty-seven patients underwent lobectomy and lymph node dissection. Eight patients with sarcoidal granulomas present in regional lymph nodes were identified as cases and matched to 16 control subjects. All subjects were staged pN0. Disease recurrence was noted in no case subjects but in 7 (44%) of control subjects (P = .044, χ(2) = 4.051). The presence of sarcoidal reactions within regional lymph nodes of patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma predicts a lower rate of disease recurrence after definitive surgical resection. The exact mechanism by which antitumor immunity is achieved remains to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis / pathology*
  • Survival Rate