Objective: Early-stage lung cancer is best treated by anatomic pulmonary resection. Patients with lung cancer and severe emphysema are often denied resection or are offered only limited, nonanatomic resections when established pulmonary function criteria for lobectomy are not met. Recently, with the introduction of the volume reduction operation, selected patients with disabling emphysema have undergone excision of approximately 30% of the most destroyed lung tissue and have subsequently demonstrated subjective and objective improvement in pulmonary function. Using these principles, we elected to combine anatomic lobectomy with volume reduction in a select group of patients with both emphysema and lung cancer who would not otherwise be candidates for pulmonary resection.
Methods: Five patients with severe emphysema and suspected or proven lung cancers, who were poor candidates for anatomic lobectomy by traditional criteria but were good candidates for volume reduction, underwent lobectomy combined with volume reduction of one or more additional lobes.
Results: All five patients having lung volume reduction and anatomic lobectomy for early-stage primary lung cancer did well postoperatively. Furthermore, each patient has demonstrated subjective and objective improvement in respiratory function on serial postoperative studies.
Conclusions: Selected patients with disabling emphysema and suitable anatomy for volume reduction, who have a lung cancer situated in destroyed lung tissue, may benefit from combined lobectomy and volume reduction. The introduction of the volume reduction operation has added a new factor in the algorithm for the evaluation and treatment of lung cancer in selected patients with advanced emphysema.