Selective lymph node dissection for clinical T1 stage non-small cell lung cancer

Jin-Long Zhao, Hong-Wei Guo, Peng Yang, Da-Zhi Jiang, Hui Tian


Background: More and more pulmonary nodules are detected by CT scan, and postoperative pathology reveals many lymph nodes without metastasis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of T1 stage lymph node metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and to explore the indications for selective lymph node dissection (SLND).
Methods: A total of 841 patients with stage T1 of NSCLC were performed lobectomy and systemic lymphadenectomy. We analyzed the types of lymph node metastases and the relationship between lymph node metastasis and pulmonary pleural invasion, thrombosis of vascular carcinoma and tumor size in all patients.
Results: Among them, 257 cases of tumor in the right upper lobe (RUL) and 186 cases in the left upper lobe (LUL), and no metastasis was found in the inferior mediastinal lymph nodes. Tumor metastases occurred in subcarinal lymph nodes, with hilar and/or mediastinal lymph node metastasis. Among the 171 cases with right lower lobe (RLL) tumors and the 151 cases with left lower lobe (LLL) tumors, patients with superior lymph node metastasis were all associated with hilar and/or subcarinal lymph node metastasis. Among the 76 cases with right middle lobe (RML) tumors, no metastasis with inferior mediastinal lymph node was observed. Lymph node metastasis is much easier in patients with pulmonary pleural invasion or thrombosis of vascular cancer. The larger the tumor diameter, the greater the possibility of lymph node metastasis.
Conclusions: SLND is a feasible treatment for clinical T1 stage NSCLC under the guidance of intraoperative frozen results of lobe-specific lymph nodes.