Lobar or Sublobar Resection for Peripheral Stage IA Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

N Engl J Med. 2023 Feb 9;388(6):489-498. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2212083.


Background: The increased detection of small-sized peripheral non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has renewed interest in sublobar resection in lieu of lobectomy.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter, noninferiority, phase 3 trial in which patients with NSCLC clinically staged as T1aN0 (tumor size, ≤2 cm) were randomly assigned to undergo sublobar resection or lobar resection after intraoperative confirmation of node-negative disease. The primary end point was disease-free survival, defined as the time between randomization and disease recurrence or death from any cause. Secondary end points were overall survival, locoregional and systemic recurrence, and pulmonary functions.

Results: From June 2007 through March 2017, a total of 697 patients were assigned to undergo sublobar resection (340 patients) or lobar resection (357 patients). After a median follow-up of 7 years, sublobar resection was noninferior to lobar resection for disease-free survival (hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death, 1.01; 90% confidence interval [CI], 0.83 to 1.24). In addition, overall survival after sublobar resection was similar to that after lobar resection (hazard ratio for death, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.26). The 5-year disease-free survival was 63.6% (95% CI, 57.9 to 68.8) after sublobar resection and 64.1% (95% CI, 58.5 to 69.0) after lobar resection. The 5-year overall survival was 80.3% (95% CI, 75.5 to 84.3) after sublobar resection and 78.9% (95% CI, 74.1 to 82.9) after lobar resection. No substantial difference was seen between the two groups in the incidence of locoregional or distant recurrence. At 6 months postoperatively, a between-group difference of 2 percentage points was measured in the median percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second, favoring the sublobar-resection group.

Conclusions: In patients with peripheral NSCLC with a tumor size of 2 cm or less and pathologically confirmed node-negative disease in the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes, sublobar resection was not inferior to lobectomy with respect to disease-free survival. Overall survival was similar with the two procedures. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; CALGB 140503 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00499330.).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pneumonectomy* / adverse effects
  • Pneumonectomy* / methods
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00499330