Is lobectomy really more effective than sublobar resection in the surgical treatment of second primary lung cancer?

Research paper by Andrea A Zuin, Luigi Gaetano LG Andriolo, Giuseppe G Marulli, Marco M Schiavon, Samuele S Nicotra, Francesca F Calabrese, Paola P Romanello, Federico F Rea

Indexed on: 10 May '13Published on: 10 May '13Published in: European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery : official journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery


Sublobar resection for early-stage lung cancer is still a controversial issue. We sought to compare sublobar resection (segmentectomy or wedge resection) with lobectomy in the treatment of patients with a second primary lung cancer.From January 1995 to December 2010, 121 patients with second primary lung cancer, classified by the criteria proposed by Martini and Melamed, were treated at our Institution. We had 23 patients with a synchronous tumour and 98 with metachronous. As second treatment, we performed 61 lobectomies (17 of these were completion pneumonectomies), 38 atypical resections and 22 segmentectomies. Histology was adenocarcinoma in 49, squamous in 38, bronchoalveolar carcinomas in 14, adenosquamous in 8, large cells in 2, anaplastic in 5 and other histologies in 5.Overall 5-year survival from second surgery was 42%; overall operative mortality was 2.5% (3 patients), while morbidity was 19% (22 patients). Morbidity was comparable between the lobectomy group, sublobar resection and completion pneumonectomies (12.8, 27.7 and 30.8%, respectively, P = 0.21). Regarding the type of surgery, the lobectomy group showed a better 5-year survival than sublobar resection (57.5 and 36%, respectively, P = 0.016). Compared with lobectomies, completion pneumonectomies showed a significantly less-favourable survival (57.5 and 20%, respectively, P = 0.001).From our experience, lobectomy should still be considered as the treatment of choice in the management of second primary lung cancer, but sublobar resection remains a valid option in high-risk patients with limited pulmonary function. Completion pneumonectomy was a negative prognostic factor in long-term survival.