Results of resection in non-oat cell carcinoma of the lung with mediastinal lymph node metastases

Ann Surg. 1983 Sep;198(3):386-97. doi: 10.1097/00000658-198309000-00015.


From 1974 to 1981, 1598 patients with non-oat cell carcinoma of the lung were seen and treated. All were staged according to the AJC staging system. Of these, 706 patients had evidence of mediastinal lymph node metastases (N2). There were 151 patients (21%) who had complete, potentially curative resection of their primary tumor and all accessible mediastinal lymph nodes. The histologic type of tumor was adenocarcinoma in 94 patients, epidermoid carcinoma in 46 patients, and large-cell carcinoma in 11 patients. The extent of pulmonary resection consisted of a lobectomy in 119 patients, pneumonectomy in 26 patients, and wedge resection or segmentectomy in six patients. Almost all patients also received radiation therapy to the mediastinum. Clinical staging of the primary tumor and the mediastinum was based on the radiographic presentation of the chest and on bronchoscopy. Before treatment, 104 of 151 patients (69%) were believed to have had stage I (90 patients) or II (14 patients) disease, and 47 patients had stage III disease, of whom only 33 had evidence of mediastinal lymph node involvement. Excluding deaths from unrelated causes, the overall survival rate was 74% at 1 year, 43% at 3 years and 29% at 5 years. Survival in patients with clinical stage I or II disease treated by resection was favorable despite the presence of N2 nodes (50% at 3 years). Survival in obvious clinical N2 disease was poor (8% at 3 years). There was no difference in survival between patients with adenocarcinoma and those with epidermoid carcinoma. However, survival was poorer in patients with N2 nodes in the inferior mediastinum compared to those without lymph node involvement at that level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Mediastinum
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging