Purpose: The validity of our proposed lobe-specific regional lymph node stations (LSRLNS) was evaluated as a method for navigation during lymphadenectomy in patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: A total of 725 NSCLC patients with c-T2N1M0 or less extensive disease who had undergone a curative operation with complete mediastinal lymph node dissection (MLND) were studied. The LSRLNS were #2, #3, #4 and #10 for the right upper lobe, #11i, #11s, #7 and #8 for the right lower lobe, #4, #5 and #6 for the left superior division, #11, #5 and #7 for the left lingular division and #11, #7 and #8 for the left lower lobe.
Results: If the LSRLNS were used for pathological examinations during surgery, 599 p-N0 and 39 p-N1 patients diagnosed with no metastasis would have been subjected to a selective MLND, while 20 p-N1 and 65 p-N2 patients who had a diagnosis of metastasis would have been navigated to a complete MLND. Two p-N2 patients with a diagnosis of no metastasis would have inappropriately undergone a selective MLND, resulting in the false negative rate at 0.3 %.
Conclusion: Intra-operative pathological examination using our LSRLNS may accurately reveal the status of metastasis, and appropriately lead to a selective or complete MLND in patients with c-T2N1M0 or less extensive disease.