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IIB or Not IIB: The Current Question in Staging Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Frank C. Detterbeck; Mark A. Socinski
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Affiliations: From the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program and the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill,  From the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program and the Division of Medical Oncology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill

Affiliations: From the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program and the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill,  From the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program and the Division of Medical Oncology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill


1997 by the American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 1997;112(1):229-234. doi:10.1378/chest.112.1.229
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Abstract

It has been suggested that T3/N0-1/M0 non-small cell lung cancer should be classified as stage IIB rather than IIIA. This is the result of a widespread perception that the survival of patients with T3/N0-1 lung cancers greatly exceeds that of patients with stage IIIA (N2) lung cancers. This perception is based primarily on the survival of T3/N0-1 patients who have chest wall involvement. However, the T3 classification also includes tumors that involve mediastinal structures, the main stem bronchus <2 cm from the carina, and the brachial plexus as seen in Pancoast tumors. Survival for each of these T3 categories is examined in this articles and found to be somewhat different. The available data show that patients with T3/N0-1 tumors involving the chest wall have a good prognosis after resection, whereas patients with central T3/N0-1 tumors (mediastinal or main stem bronchial involvement) have a prognosis similar to that of patients with resected IIIA (N2) tumors. If a new classification of T3/N0-1 tumors as stage IIB is to be adopted, it will be important for future studies to document which type of T3 tumor is being discussed.


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