Mediastinal metastases in bronchogenic carcinoma: influence of postoperative irradiation, cell type, and location

Ann Thorac Surg. 1982 May;33(5):459-63. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(10)60786-2.


A 17-year experience with 136 patients with bronchogenic carcinoma and mediastinal metastases is reported. Six died postoperatively. Postoperative mediastinal irradiation was given to 110 patients surviving curative resection who had evidence of tumor spreading to the mediastinal lymph nodes. The remaining 20 patients did not receive radiation therapy. Of the 136 patients, 29 (21.3%) lived 5 years free from disease and 9 survived 10 or more years. Of the 110 patients who survived operation and underwent irradiation, 29 (26.4%) survived 5 years. None of the 20 patients not receiving radiation therapy lived 5 years. Of the patients who underwent irradiation, 18 of the 50 patients with squamous cell carcinoma survived 5 years, while only 7 of 55 with adenocarcinoma survived 5 years. We do not believe that the discovery of mediastinal lymph node involvement in bronchogenic carcinoma is a contraindication to pulmonary resection. As in our previous reports, histological cell type has proved to be an important indicator of absolute survival. Patients with squamous cell carcinoma had an absolute-5-year survival of 33.9%, while the patients with adenocarcinoma had an absolute survival of 12.3%. The level of lymph node metastasis has an influence on prognosis as well. Patients with subcarinal lymph node metastases had a lower survival than patients with superior mediastinal involvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies