Long-term outcomes of video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy for clinical N1 non-small cell lung cancer: A propensity score-weighted comparison with open thoracotomy

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer. 2020 Oct 29;150:201-208. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.10.014. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Although the video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) approach has been accepted as a safe and effective alternative to lobectomy, its advantage remains unclear in advanced-stage lung cancer. This study is aimed to evaluate the feasibility and long-term outcomes of VATS in lung cancer with clinical N1 (cN1) disease.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 1149 consecutive patients who underwent lobectomy for cN1 disease from 2006 to 2016. Perioperative outcomes and long-term survival rates were compared using a propensity score-based inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) technique.

RESULTS: We performed VATS and open thoracotomy for 500 and 649 patients, respectively. All preoperative characteristics became similar between the two groups after IPTW adjustment. Compared to thoracotomy, VATS was associated with shorter hospitalization (7.7 days vs. 9.2 days, p < 0.001), earlier adjuvant chemotherapy (41.7 days vs. 46.6 days, p = 0.028), similar complete resection rates (95.2 % vs. 94.0 %, p = 0.583), and equivalent dissected lymph nodes (27.5 vs. 27.8, p = 0.704). On IPTW-adjusted analysis, overall survival (OS) (59.4 % vs. 60.3 %, p = 0.588) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) (59.2 % vs. 56.9 %, p = 0.651) at 5 years were also similar between the two groups. Multivariable Cox analysis revealed that VATS was not a significant prognostic factor for cN1 disease (p = 0.764 for OS and p = 0.879 for RFS).

CONCLUSIONS: VATS lobectomy is feasible for patients with cN1 disease, providing comparable perioperative outcomes, oncologic efficacy, and long-term outcomes as open thoracotomy.