The role of surgery in the treatment of stage III non-small-cell lung cancer. Current oncology reports Gallo, A. E., Donington, J. S. 2007; 9 (4): 247-254


Stage III, locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer represents an incredibly heterogeneous group of patients. The majority of patients are treated with curative intent, but optimal therapy is controversial and the role of surgery is not well defined. Consensus has shown that the majority of patients with IIIB disease are not amenable to resection. The exceptions are selected patients with tumor stage 4 (T4) by virtue of a satellite nodule or those with isolated invasion of the spine, superior sulcus, carina, or vena cava. Surgery is more widely used for stage IIIA disease. Patients with nodal stage 2 (N2) disease represent the largest population of patients in stage III. Increasing evidence supports the use of surgery as part of a multimodality approach for N2 disease. The impact of surgery is partially determined by the bulk of the mediastinal node involvement. Patients with micrometastatic disease and single-station nodal involvement have the greatest chance for cure, and surgery appears to play a significant role in their treatment. Patients with bulky multistation disease are frequently not amenable to complete resection and may be best approached with definitive chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, the ability to sterilize mediastinal lymph nodes with induction therapy correlates strongly with survival following resection, but the ideal induction regime that balances the safety and efficacy has yet to be determined.

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