Negative Lymph Node Count Predicts Survival of Resected Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

Lung. 2020 Jul 18. doi: 10.1007/s00408-020-00378-7. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the association between the negative lymph node (NLN) count and survival, as well as compare the prognostic value of the positive lymph node (PLN) count, lymph node ratio (the PLN count/total lymph nodes examined, LNR), and NLN count in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

METHODS: We identified patients diagnosed with NSCLC between 2005 and 2011 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Outcomes of interest were lung cancer-specific survival (LCSS) and overall survival (OS). Cases were divided into several groups based on the PLN count, NLN count, and LNR. The prognostic significance of the PLN count, NLN count, and LNR models was analyzed with the Kaplan-Meier method and the Cox regression model.

RESULTS: 39,959 patients with surgical resection for NSCLC were identified. Univariate analysis demonstrated that a greater count of NLNs was associated with better LCSS (P < 0.001) and OS (P < 0.001). Subgroup analysis showed that the NLN count could predict survival in both node-negative and node-positive patients. Multivariable analysis revealed that the NLN count was an independent prognostic factor for LCSS and OS.

CONCLUSION: The NLN count is an independent prognostic factor of OS and LCSS in patients with NSCLC, as well as the PLN count and LNR. The prognostic value of the PLN count, NLN count, and LNR shows no difference.