An increasing proportion of patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is undergoing sublobar resection (L−). However, there is little information about the risks and correlates of local recurrence (LR) after such surgery, especially compared with patients undergoing lobectomy (L+).
Ninety-three and 318 consecutive patients with stage I NSCLC underwent L− and L+, respectively, from 2000 to 2006. Median follow-up was 34 months.
In the L− group, the LR rates at 2, 3, and 5 years were 13%, 24%, and 40%, respectively. The risk of LR was significantly associated with tumor grade, tumor size, and T stage. The crude risk of LR was 33.8% (21 of 62) for patients whose tumors were grade ≥ 2. In the L+ group, the LR rates at 2, 3, and 5 years were 14%, 19%, and 24%, respectively. The risk of LR significantly increased with increasing tumor size, length of hospital stay, and the presence of diabetes. The L− group experienced a significant increase in failure in the bronchial stump/staple line compared with the L+ group (10% vs 3%; P = .04) and nonsignificant trends toward increased ipsilateral hilar and subcarinal failure rates.
Patients with stage I NSCLC who undergo L− have an increased risk of LR compared with patients undergoing L+, particularly when they have tumors grade ≥ 2 or tumor size > 2 cm. If L− is considered, additional local therapy should be considered to reduce this risk of LR, especially with tumors grade ≥ 2 or size > 2 cm.