1. Department of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Beijing Chest Hospital, Capital Medical University; Beijing Tuberculosis and Thoracic Tumor Research Institute, Beijing, China.
2. Department of Thoracic Surgery, National Cancer Center/National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Cancer Hospital & Shenzhen Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Shenzhen, China.
3. State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore whether the resection of pulmonary ligament lymph nodes would affect the prognosis of patients with stage IB non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 341 patients with upper lobe stage IB NSCLC who underwent radical surgery for lung cancer at Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center from 1999 to 2009. The Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to analyze the prognostic factors. After propensity score matching (PSM), 204 cases were selected. The Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test were applied to compare overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS).
Results: Among the 341 cases included in the study, 217 had no pulmonary ligament lymph nodes resected, and 124 had pulmonary ligament lymph nodes resected. They were divided into two groups according to whether the pulmonary ligament lymph nodes were resected; there were significant differences between the two groups in laterality, resected lymph node stations, and resected lymph node numbers (P<0.05). Univariate and multivariate analyses by the Cox proportional hazards model showed that age and family history of malignant tumors were prognostic factors for OS, and no variables were prognostic factors for RFS (P<0.05). Resection of the pulmonary ligament lymph node was not associated with OS or RFS. After propensity score matching (PSM), survival analysis was performed again using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test; the results suggested that resection of the pulmonary ligament lymph node is not statistically associated with OS and RFS (P>0.05).
Conclusions: For stage IB NSCLC, resection of the pulmonary ligament lymph nodes was not statistically associated with OS or RFS. Pulmonary ligament lymph node resection is not necessary for early-stage NSCLC.
Keywords: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), propensity score matching (PSM), pulmonary ligament lymph nodes, overall survival (OS), recurrence-free survival (RFS)