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Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines Online Only Articles |

Special Treatment Issues in Non-small Cell Lung CancerSpecial Treatment Issues in NSCLC: Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines FREE TO VIEW

Benjamin D. Kozower, MD, MPH, FCCP; James M. Larner, MD; Frank C. Detterbeck, MD, FCCP; David R. Jones, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (Dr Kozower), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; Department of Radiation Oncology (Dr Larner), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; Division of Thoracic Surgery (Dr Detterbeck), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; and Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (Dr Jones), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

Correspondence to: David R. Jones, MD, FCCP, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, PO Box 800679, Charlottesville, VA 22908; e-mail: drj8q@virginia.edu


Funding/Sponsors: The overall process for the development of these guidelines, including matters pertaining to funding and conflicts of interest, are described in the methodology article.1 The development of this guideline was supported primarily by the American College of Chest Physicians. The lung cancer guidelines conference was supported in part by a grant from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation. The publication and dissemination of the guidelines was supported in part by a 2009 independent educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

COI grids reflecting the conflicts of interest that were current as of the date of the conference and voting are posted in the online supplementary materials.

Disclaimer: American College of Chest Physicians guidelines are intended for general information only, are not medical advice, and do not replace professional medical care and physician advice, which always should be sought for any medical condition. The complete disclaimer for this guideline can be accessed at http://dx.doi.org/10.1378/chest.1435S1.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(5_suppl):e369S-e399S. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2362
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Background:  This guideline updates the second edition and addresses patients with particular forms of non-small cell lung cancer that require special considerations, including Pancoast tumors, T4 N0,1 M0 tumors, additional nodules in the same lobe (T3), ipsilateral different lobe (T4) or contralateral lung (M1a), synchronous and metachronous second primary lung cancers, solitary brain and adrenal metastases, and chest wall involvement.

Methods:  The nature of these special clinical cases is such that in most cases, meta-analyses or large prospective studies of patients are not available. To ensure that these guidelines were supported by the most current data available, publications appropriate to the topics covered in this article were obtained by performing a literature search of the MEDLINE computerized database. Where possible, we also reference other consensus opinion statements. Recommendations were developed by the writing committee, graded by a standardized method, and reviewed by all members of the Lung Cancer Guidelines panel prior to approval by the Thoracic Oncology NetWork, Guidelines Oversight Committee, and the Board of Regents of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Results:  In patients with a Pancoast tumor, a multimodality approach appears to be optimal, involving chemoradiotherapy and surgical resection, provided that appropriate staging has been carried out. Carefully selected patients with central T4 tumors that do not have mediastinal node involvement are uncommon, but surgical resection appears to be beneficial as part of their treatment rather than definitive chemoradiotherapy alone. Patients with lung cancer and an additional malignant nodule are difficult to categorize, and the current stage classification rules are ambiguous. Such patients should be evaluated by an experienced multidisciplinary team to determine whether the additional lesion represents a second primary lung cancer or an additional tumor nodule corresponding to the dominant cancer. Highly selected patients with a solitary focus of metastatic disease in the brain or adrenal gland appear to benefit from resection or stereotactic radiosurgery. This is particularly true in patients with a long disease-free interval. Finally, in patients with chest wall involvement, provided that the tumor can be completely resected and N2 nodal disease is absent, primary surgical resection should be considered.

Conclusions:  Carefully selected patients with more uncommon presentations of lung cancer may benefit from an aggressive surgical approach.

Figures in this Article
Pancoast Tumor

2.4.1. In patients with a Pancoast tumor, it is recommended that a tissue diagnosis be obtained prior to the initiation of therapy (Grade 1C).

2.4.2. In patients with a Pancoast tumor being considered for curative-intent surgical resection, an MRI of the thoracic inlet and brachial plexus is recommended to characterize possible tumor invasion of vascular structures or the extradural space (Grade 1C).

2.4.3. In patients with a Pancoast tumor being considered for curative resection, invasive mediastinal staging and extrathoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are recommended (Grade 1C).

Remark: Involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or metastatic disease represents a contraindication to resection.

2.4.4. In patients with a potentially resectable Pancoast tumor (and good performance status), it is suggested that preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy is given prior to resection (Grade 2B).

2.4.5. In patients undergoing resection of a Pancoast tumor, it is recommended that every effort be made to achieve a complete resection (Grade 1B).

2.4.6. In patients undergoing resection of a Pancoast tumor, it is suggested that the resection consist of a lobectomy (instead of a nonanatomic wedge resection), as well as the involved chest wall structures (Grade 2C).

2.4.7. In patients with an unresectable, nonmetastatic Pancoast tumor who have good performance status, definitive concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy are suggested (Grade 2C).

2.4.8. In patients with Pancoast tumors who are not candidates for curative-intent treatment, palliative radiotherapy is suggested (Grade 2B).

Tumors Invading Chest Wall

3.3.1. In patients with a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) invading the chest wall who are being considered for curative-intent surgical resection, invasive mediastinal staging and extrathoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are suggested (Grade 2C).

3.3.2. In patients with an NSCLC invading the chest wall, involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or metastatic disease represent a contraindication to resection, and definitive chemoradiotherapy is suggested for these patients (Grade 2C).

3.3.3. At the time of resection of a tumor invading the chest wall, it is recommended that every effort be made to achieve a complete resection (Grade 1B).

Central T4 N0,1 M0 Tumors

4.3.1. In patients with a clinical T4 N0,1 M0 NSCLC being considered for curative resection, it is recommended that extrathoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) be undertaken (Grade 1C).

Remark: Metastatic disease represents a contraindication to resection.

4.3.2. In patients with a clinical T4 N0,1 M0 NSCLC without distant metastases being considered for curative resection, it is suggested that invasive mediastinal staging be undertaken. Involvement of mediastinal nodes represents a contraindication to primary resection (Grade 2C).

Remark: Preoperative chemotherapy and resection has resulted in long-term survival in experienced centers in patients with mediastinal nodal involvement.

4.3.3. In patients with a clinical T4 N0,1 M0 NSCLC being considered for curative resection, it is suggested that resection be undertaken only at a specialized center (Grade 2C).

Second Primary Lung Cancer

5.2.4.1. In patients with two foci typical of a primary lung cancer (either proven or suspected, ie, solid, spiculated masses), it is suggested that identification of these as second primary lung cancers (either synchronous or metachronous) should be based on the judgment of a multidisciplinary team, taking into account clinical, radiologic, and (if available) tumor cytologic/histologic features (Grade 2C).

Remark: The multidisciplinary team should include a thoracic radiologist, pulmonologist, thoracic surgeon, and pathologist.

5.2.4.2. In patients with two primary NSCLCs (synchronous or metachronous) being considered for curative surgical resection, invasive mediastinal staging and extra-thoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are recommended (Grade 1B).

Remark: Involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or metastatic disease represents a contraindication to resection.

5.2.4.3. In patients (not suspected of having a second focus of cancer) who are found intraoperatively to have a second cancer in a different lobe, resection of each lesion is suggested, provided the patient has adequate pulmonary reserve and there is no N2 nodal involvement (Grade 2C).

Additional Tumor Nodules in the Same Lobe (T3Satell)

5.3.2.3.1. In patients with suspected or proven lung cancer and an additional (suspected) tumor nodule within the same lobe, it is recommended that no further diagnostic workup of the additional nodule is undertaken (Grade 1B).

5.3.2.3.2. In patients with an additional (suspected) tumor nodule within the same lobe as a suspected or proven primary lung cancer, it is recommended that evaluation of extrathoracic metastases and confirmation of the mediastinal node status should be carried out as dictated by the primary lung cancer alone and not modified due to the presence of the additional lesion (Grade 1C).

5.3.2.3.3. In patients with NSCLC and an additional focus of cancer within the same lobe (and no mediastinal or distant metastases), resection via a lobectomy is the recommended treatment (Grade 1B).

Ipsilateral Different Lobe Tumor Nodules (T4Ipsi Nod)

5.3.3.3.1. In patients with suspected or proven lung cancer and an ipsilateral different lobe nodule(s), it is recommended that the judgment of a multidisciplinary team should reasonably exclude the possibility that this represents a benign lesion or a synchronous primary lung cancer, taking into account clinical, radiologic, and (if available) tumor cytologic/histologic features (Grade 1C).

Remark: The multidisciplinary team should include a thoracic radiologist, pulmonologist, thoracic surgeon, and pathologist at a minimum.

5.3.3.3.2. In patients with an ipsilateral different lobe tumor nodule(s), it is suggested that evaluation for possible extrathoracic metastases (eg, PET and brain MRI/CT) should be carried out (Grade 2C).

Remark: The presence of distant metastases indicates the pulmonary nodule most likely represents metastatic (M1b) disease.

5.3.3.3.3. In patients with an ipsilateral different lobe tumor nodule(s), it is suggested that invasive evaluation to rule out mediastinal node involvement should be carried out (Grade 2C).

Remark: Such involvement rules out curative-intent treatment.

5.3.3.3.4. In patients with NSCLC and an ipsilateral different lobe tumor nodule(s) (and no mediastinal or distant metastases), resection of each lesion is recommended, provided the patient has adequate pulmonary reserve (Grade 1B).

Contralateral Lobe Tumor Nodules (M1aContr Nod)

5.3.4.3.1 In patients with a contralateral lobe tumor nodule(s), it is suggested that evaluation of extrathoracic metastases (eg, PET and brain MRI/CT) and invasive evaluation to rule out mediastinal node involvement should be carried out (Grade 2C).

Remark: Such involvement represents a contraindication curative-intent treatment.

5.3.4.3.2. In patients with NSCLC and a contralateral lobe tumor nodule(s) (and no mediastinal or distant metastases), resection of each lesion is suggested, provided the patient has adequate pulmonary reserve (Grade 2C).

Multifocal Lung Cancer

5.4.4.1. In patients with multiple lesions that are at least partially ground glass and are suspected to be malignant, it is suggested that these are classified as multifocal lung cancer (MFLC) (Grade 2C).

5.4.4.2. In patients with suspected or proven MFLC who have a negative clinical evaluation and normal mediastinum by CT, it is suggested that distant and mediastinal staging are not routinely necessary (Grade 2C).

5.4.4.3. In patients with suspected or proven MFLC, it is suggested that curative-intent treatment should be pursued (Grade 2C).

5.4.4.4. In patients with suspected or proven MFLC, it is suggested that sublobar resection of all lesions suspected of being malignant be performed, if feasible (Grade 2C).

Isolated Brain Metastasis

6.3.1. In patients with an isolated brain metastasis from NSCLC being considered for curative treatment, invasive mediastinal staging and extrathoracic imaging (either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are suggested (Grade 2C).

Remark: Involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or metastatic disease represents a contraindication to curative-intent treatment.

6.3.2. In patients with no other sites of metastases and a synchronous resectable N0,1 primary NSCLC, resection or radiosurgical ablation of an isolated brain metastasis is recommended (as well as resection of the primary tumor) (Grade 1C).

6.3.3. In patients with no other sites of metastases and a previously completely resected primary NSCLC (metachronous presentation), resection or radiosurgical ablation of an isolated brain metastasis is recommended (Grade 1C).

6.3.4. In patients who have undergone a curative resection of an isolated brain metastasis, adjuvant whole-brain radiotherapy is suggested (Grade 2B).

Remark: Adjuvant whole brain radiotherapy is reasonable in patients with a good performance status with the goal of decreasing the incidence of brain recurrences, although no studies have specifically addressed this.

6.3.5. In patients who have undergone a curative resection of an isolated brain metastasis, adjuvant chemotherapy is suggested (Grade 2B).

Remark: Adjuvant chemotherapy is reasonable in patients with a good performance status, although no studies have specifically addressed this.

Isolated Adrenal Metastasis

7.2.1. In patients with an isolated adrenal metastasis from NSCLC being considered for curative-intent surgical resection, invasive mediastinal staging and extrathoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are suggested (Grade 2C).

Remark: Involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or other sites of distant metastases represent a contraindication to resection.

7.2.2. In patients with a synchronous resectable N0,1 primary NSCLC and an isolated adrenal metastasis with no other sites of metastases, resection of the primary tumor and the adrenal metastasis is recommended (Grade 1C).

7.2.3. In patients with no other sites of metastases and a previously completely resected primary NSCLC (metachronous presentation), resection of an isolated adrenal metastasis is recommended (Grade 1C).

7.2.4. In patients who have undergone a curative resection of an isolated adrenal metastasis, adjuvant chemotherapy is suggested (Grade 2B).

Remark: Adjuvant chemotherapy is reasonable in patients with a good performance status, although no studies have specifically addressed this.

In general, the primary therapy of localized tumors (stages I and II) is complete surgical resection. The majority of patients with lung cancer involving the mediastinal lymph nodes (stage III) are treated with chemotherapy and radiation.2 However, there are several relatively unusual presentations of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for which the anatomic and biologic issues dictate a different approach. In addition, the presence of an isolated second focus of cancer in a patient with lung cancer presents a situation where the biology of this phenomenon is often not clear, and therefore, the approach to treatment is difficult.

This article addresses patients with particular forms of NSCLC that require special considerations, including patients with Pancoast tumors, T4 N0,1 M0 central tumors, chest wall involvement, additional pulmonary tumor nodules, synchronous and metachronous second primary lung cancers (SPLCs), multifocal lung cancer (MFLC), and solitary metastases.

A formal meta-analysis was not available for any of the particular forms of NSCLC that are the subject of this article. Clinical guidelines from other organizations were available and are discussed. These involve primarily consensus opinion statements.37 However, a systematic review of the most recent literature in each of these areas was performed. Using Ovid MEDLINE, each subject area was searched (details available on request), and articles published since the previous American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Lung Cancer Guidelines from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2012, were included. Articles were included if they reported on the key outcome measures in a sufficient sample size as outlined in each table herein. The recommendations in this article are based on the data from this review.

The data regarding the approach to these special situations were reviewed, summarized, and used to define management recommendations by the writing committee. In particular, the committee carefully reviewed the published literature produced since the second edition of these guidelines published in 2007.8 The document and recommendations were further reviewed by the entire ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines panel to ensure that it met the requirements of a balanced, accurate, and generally acceptable representation of the issues with regard to these particular forms of NSCLC.

Although each subject area in this article was searched systematically, the following questions were specifically identified a priori (Table S1):

  • 1. In patients with a Pancoast tumor, does induction chemoradiation therapy improve complete resection rates and improve 5-year survival compared with preoperative radiotherapy or no preoperative therapy (with or without adjuvant therapy)?

  • 2. Do patients with T3Satell tumors have similar survival to those with T4Ipsi Nod disease?

  • 3. How do we determine whether a contralateral tumor lesion is a synchronous primary NSCLC or an M1aContr Nod lesion, and does it matter?

2.1 Definition

The formal definition of a superior sulcus tumor (Pancoast tumor) is as follows: a lung cancer arising in the apex of the lung that involves structures of the apical chest wall.9 Invasion of apical chest wall structures is required at the level of the first rib or above, but it is not necessary to have Horner syndrome or pain radiating down the arm. These lesions frequently invade the brachial plexus, subclavian vessels, or spine. Of note, the stage classification designates such a tumor as T3 if it involves the T1 or T2 nerve roots or first rib and as T4 if there is involvement of C8 or higher nerve roots, cords of the brachial plexus, subclavian vessels, vertebral bodies, or lamina (see Detterbeck et al,10 “The Stage Classification of Lung Cancer,” in the ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines).

The anatomic location and extension of the tumor determines the presenting signs and symptoms. Most patients with superior sulcus tumors present with shoulder or chest wall pain. These tumors may invade the lower brachial plexus (C8-T1) and present with radicular pain or neurologic findings of the ulnar hand. Hand swelling is a sign of subclavian or brachiocephalic vein compression. Horner syndrome may be present as a result of invasion of the stellate ganglion. Posteroanterior and lateral chest radiographs may demonstrate nothing more than apical pleural thickening because tumors can hide behind the first rib. However, CT scan and MRI can detect small lesions and provide excellent anatomic detail. These tumors are now divided into anterior, middle, and posterior compartment tumors, depending on the location of the chest wall involvement in relation to the insertions of the anterior and middle scalene muscles on the first rib.9,11

2.2 Workup

Most superior sulcus tumors are diagnosed through transcutaneous needle biopsy performed under CT imaging guidance. Transbronchial biopsy is less useful because the lesions are usually too peripheral. The majority of tumors are NSCLC, but other lesions, such as granulomas, fungal infections, and small cell lung cancer, can masquerade as NSCLC in the superior sulcus region.12,13 Therefore, it is recommended that a histologic diagnosis of the mass be obtained prior to initiating any treatment.

Pancoast tumors should be treated like most other resectable lung cancers by performing a thorough preoperative evaluation. Although there are no data regarding the reliability of CT or PET scans for mediastinal node involvement, specifically in patients with Pancoast tumors, the consensus of the panel is that invasive mediastinal staging should be performed in all patients being considered for curative resection, regardless of whether the CT or PET scan suggests involvement of the mediastinal lymph nodes. The argument to invasively stage the mediastinum in all patients with a Pancoast tumor is that it is consistent with the general recommendation for accurate staging before initiation of a major intervention, such as resection (see Silvestri et al,14 “Methods for Staging Non-small Cell Lung Cancer,” in the ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines), and consistent with data demonstrating that N2,3 node involvement is a major negative prognostic factor. No firm recommendation can be made about whether mediastinoscopy or endobronchial ultrasound/esophageal ultrasound should be done before or after preoperative therapy. An MRI demonstrates involvement of apical chest wall structures, such as the brachial plexus, better than a CT scan,15 but CT imaging provides more information about the presence of nodal enlargement and pulmonary, hepatic, and adrenal metastases. Therefore, both a chest CT scan and an MRI are indicated to assess the resectability of a Pancoast tumor. No new data have been published regarding the presentation, imaging, diagnosis, or staging workup of Pancoast tumors since the second edition of the ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines.

2.3 Treatment

The initial results with superior sulcus tumors were quite poor until Shaw et al16 and Paulson17 demonstrated that preoperative radiation facilitates surgical resection and improves 5-year survival to 30%. This was the classic approach for curative intent, but alternatives were radiation alone, preoperative chemoradiotherapy followed by resection, and definitive chemoradiotherapy without resection.

Treatment with radiation alone has achieved good palliation of pain in about 75% of patients.18 In general, very few patients treated with radiation alone are long-term survivors (about 5%).19 However, many of these series have included patients with advanced-stage tumors. Among studies including primarily patients with a reasonable chance of cure, the average median survival time is 16 months, and the average 5-year survival is 20% (range, 15%-23%).18,20,21

Treatment with preoperative radiation and resection has resulted in an average median survival time of 22 months and a 5-year survival of 27%.19 In these series, approximately one-third of patients underwent an incomplete resection (R1 or R2), and approximately one-third of the resections involved only a limited resection of the affected lobe of the lung. A retrospective analysis demonstrated that a complete resection with negative margins (R0) and a pulmonary resection involving at least a lobectomy are major factors associated with better survival.22 Furthermore, N2 or N3 lymph node involvement is a negative prognostic factor and should generally be considered a contraindication to surgery.19 An exception to this rule may be patients with ipsilateral supraclavicular N3 lymph node involvement.9 Patients with vertebral body or subclavian vessel involvement have traditionally been considered to have an unresectable tumor, but it appears that with improved surgical approaches to these structures, a few experienced centers have been able to achieve reasonable survival in such patients.2326 Such patients should be referred to a specialized center with experience in performing this type of resection.

The largest reported series of surgically resected superior sulcus tumors included 225 patients.27 Only 55% of these patients were treated with preoperative radiation therapy and only 20% with induction chemotherapy. The 5-year survival was 46% for T3 N0 (stage IIB) and < 15% for stage III with T4 or N2 disease. Survival was influenced by T and N status and completeness of resection. However, a pathologic complete resection (R0) was achieved in only 64% of T3 N0 and 39% of T4 N0 tumors, with locoregional disease being the most common form of relapse.

A prospective, multiinstitutional trial involved induction chemoradiation therapy followed by resection28 in 111 patients with mediastinoscopy-negative T3,4 N0,1 superior sulcus tumors (two cycles of cisplatin and etoposide concurrent with 45-Gy radiation). Patients with stable or responding disease (75%) underwent thoracotomy 3 to 5 weeks later. The procedure of choice was a lobectomy with en bloc resection of involved chest wall structures. One-third of resections showed a complete pathologic response, and 92% had a complete resection. This report demonstrated that induction chemoradiation is feasible in a multiinstitutional setting, improves resectability, and improves the 2-year survival to 70% for those with a complete resection. Further follow-up for these patients demonstrated that disease recurrence occurs primarily at distant sites, and the 5-year survival was 44%. In patients with a complete resection following induction therapy, the 5-year survival was 54%.29 Other series involving induction chemoradiotherapy identified by the literature review reported very similar results. These studies involved induction chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery and used platinum-based doublets, and the most common radiation dose was 45 Gy. The results from these induction therapy trials are summarized in Figure 13035 and Table S2. These studies were performed by dedicated thoracic surgeons and other specialists in a formal, multidisciplinary setting. Therefore, these results may not be generalizable to all community centers and physicians, and referral to or at least discussion with a larger center should be strongly considered for these patients if a center sees Pancoast tumors infrequently (eg, ≤ 2 per year).

Figure Jump LinkFigure 1. [Section 2.3] Results of multimodality treatment of Pancoast tumors.

Inclusion criteria were studies from December 1989-April 2012 of ≥ 20 patients with Pancoast tumors treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and reporting survival data. EP = etoposide, cisplatin; MVdP = mitomycin, vindesine, cisplatin; P = cisplatin; pCR = pathologic complete response; R0 = microscopic complete resection; RT = radiotherapy; y, year.

aPatients dropping out of planned treatment prior to resection.

bFour-year survival.

Grahic Jump Location

No randomized controlled trials have compared different treatment strategies in Pancoast tumors and likely will never be performed given the rarity of the disease. Comparison across series, however, consistently shows better complete resection rates, decreased local recurrence rates, and better overall survival with preoperative chemoradiotherapy as opposed to preoperative radiotherapy followed by resection. The consistency of the data suggests that concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by complete resection in an experienced center is the best treatment strategy.

A review of all published guidelines through 2012 showed that all recommend that patients with Pancoast tumors be evaluated by a thoracic surgeon. If there is no evidence of mediastinal node involvement, patients should undergo resection following induction radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy.35 These procedures are technically complicated, and these patients should be evaluated by a thoracic surgeon with the experience and capacity to perform a complete resection, including reconstruction of subclavian vessels, en bloc resection of vertebral bodies, and sacrificing lower cervical and upper thoracic nerve roots.9 Patients with inoperable, painful Pancoast tumors should be treated with radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy for palliation of their pain.7 The latter two recommendations from other guidelines were rated grade B, whereas the strength of the other statements was rated grade C. Thus, other guidelines have reached the same conclusions as the ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines, although the recommendations in the other guidelines have been less detailed and more vaguely worded.

In summary, the available data suggest that the best survival is achieved by preoperative chemoradiotherapy followed by surgical resection in carefully selected patients. Preoperative radiotherapy followed by surgical resection is a reasonable alternative. Involvement of subclavian vessels or the vertebral column has traditionally been associated with poor survival after resection. However, a few centers have gained experience with improved surgical approaches to these structures and have reported reasonable survival rates after resection. Involvement of mediastinal nodes is associated with poor survival after resection. At the time of resection, it is important to carry out a complete resection that should involve at least a lobectomy. There are no data on how patients with unresectable, yet potentially curable Pancoast tumors should be treated. However, extrapolation from the data for non-Pancoast stage III NSCLC suggests that chemoradiotherapy is the best approach. For patients in whom cure is not believed to be possible, radiotherapy offers good palliation of pain.

2.4 Recommendations

2.4.1. In patients with a Pancoast tumor, it is recommended that a tissue diagnosis be obtained prior to the initiation of therapy (Grade 1C).

2.4.2. In patients with a Pancoast tumor being considered for curative-intent surgical resection, an MRI of the thoracic inlet and brachial plexus is recommended to characterize possible tumor invasion of vascular structures or the extradural space (Grade 1C).

2.4.3. In patients with a Pancoast tumor being considered for curative resection, invasive mediastinal staging and extrathoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are recommended. Involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or metastatic disease represent a contraindication to resection (Grade 1C).

2.4.4. In patients with a potentially resectable Pancoast tumor (and good performance status), it is suggested that preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy is given prior to resection (Grade 2B).

2.4.5. In patients undergoing resection of a Pancoast tumor, it is recommended that every effort be made to achieve a complete resection (Grade 1B).

2.4.6. In patients undergoing resection of a Pancoast tumor, it is suggested that the resection consist of a lobectomy (instead of a nonanatomic wedge resection) as well as the involved chest wall structures (Grade 2C).

2.4.7. In patients with an unresectable, but nonmetastatic Pancoast tumor who have good performance status, definitive concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy is suggested (Grade 2C).

2.4.8. In patients with Pancoast tumors who are not candidates for curative-intent treatment, palliative radiotherapy is suggested (Grade 2B).

3.1 Patient Selection and Workup

Chest wall involvement occurs in < 8% of patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC. In the absence of metastatic spread, en bloc anatomic surgical resection of the involved lung and chest wall is the primary treatment for most patients. These lesions are T3 tumors and, if node negative (N0), have been reclassified as stage IIB disease.36,37 If lymph node involvement is present, the overall survival following resection of T3 tumors is reduced such that T3 N1,2 tumors remain in the stage IIIA category. Factors identified in our literature review that influence survival in this group of patients were completeness of resection, the extent of chest wall invasion, and the presence of regional lymph node metastasis.38,39

No studies specifically addressed the need for distant and mediastinal staging in patients with a chest wall tumor. However, in general, data support further imaging for distant metastases (eg, PET scan) and invasive mediastinal staging for lung cancer.14 These techniques are carefully reviewed in the NSCLC staging article of these guidelines.14

The use of spirometry, quantitative perfusion scanning, and exercise testing are helpful in identifying patients who are at higher risk of perioperative mortality on the basis of their pulmonary function. No studies, however, could accurately predict the increased postoperative pulmonary compromise of patients with T3 lesions who require chest wall resections. In general, the recommendations cited by Brunelli et al,40 “Physiologic Evaluation of the Patient With Lung Cancer,” in the ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines should apply to chest wall resections.

3.2 Treatment Outcomes

The average 5-year survival of patients with T3 N0 tumors is around 40%, whereas that of patients with T3 N1 tumors is around 20%.19 However, the 5-year survival of patients with T3 N0 (chest wall) tumors undergoing complete resection has been consistently reported to be 50% to 60%,4150 with few exceptions.51 Long-term results are affected most importantly by complete resection to microscopically negative margins and by absence of N2 nodal involvement.43 The depth of invasion, as determined histologically, also appears to be a significant factor that influenced survival in most studies,47,50,5254 although the largest series found no difference among patients who received complete resections.48

In studies of patients in whom resection was incomplete, or not possible, the 5-year survival was consistently < 5%.36,42,47,48,51,5558 Adjuvant radiation in patients who received incomplete resection did not result in long-term survival,44,47,56 and local recurrence rates of 30% to 40% at the site of a positive margin were seen, despite the use of radiation (dose not reported).44,58

Some controversy remains about whether an en bloc resection of chest wall (vs parietal pleura only) is required for adequate resection of those tumors in which only the parietal pleura is involved.59 There are no randomized data to answer this question, but retrospective data from most studies showed better survival for complete en bloc resections.44,60,61 In addition, the ability to assess an adequate margin intraoperatively was poor in some series of extrapleural resections.44,56 Because the chest wall resection typically adds minimal morbidity,19 we recommend performing a chest wall resection if there is any question of achieving a complete resection.

3.3 Recommendations

3.3.1. In patients with an NSCLC invading the chest wall who are being considered for curative-intent surgical resection, invasive mediastinal staging and extrathoracic imaging (head CT/MRI plus either whole-body PET or abdominal CT plus bone scan) are suggested (Grade 2C).

3.3.2. In patients with an NSCLC invading the chest wall, involvement of mediastinal nodes and/or metastatic disease represent a contraindication to resection, and definitive chemoradiotherapy is suggested for these patients (Grade 2C).

3.3.3. At the time of resection of a tumor invading the chest wall, it is recommended that every effort be made to achieve a complete resection (Grade 1B).

4.1 Patient Selection and Workup

Most patients with involvement of T4 structures have mediastinal node involvement making T4 N0,1 tumors rare. Patients with N2 disease should be treated with chemoradiotherapy, as is generally recommended for other patients with stage IIIB NSCLC2; these patients have not been separated from the general cohort of patients with N2 and N3 disease, but there is no reason to believe that the T4 N2,3 cohort represents a special subgroup. However, carefully selected patients with T4 involvement and without mediastinal lymph node involvement can be viewed as candidates for surgery. Although many reports demonstrated the technical feasibility of resection of T4 structures, fewer series have provided long-term survival data. Figure 2 summarizes the data regarding treatment of T4 N0,1 tumors reported from 1980 to 2012 and identified in our search. The largest experience of resection for T4 involvement involves carinal resections, usually together with a right-sided pneumonectomy. Since 1980, there have been 12 published series of carinal resections for lung cancer. Four of the largest series were published since 2000 and provided long-term survival data in 395 patients.6265 A modest experience is available with left-side atrial involvement6668 and involvement of the superior vena cava (SVC),69,70 and a smaller experience has been reported with tumors invading the aorta66,69,71 and vertebral bodies.7275 The observation that long-term survival statistics are available in so few patients underscores the fact that patients who are candidates for a surgical approach are extremely rare and highly selected.

Figure Jump LinkFigure 2. [Sections 4.1, 4.2] Results of resection of patients with T4 involvement from NSCL.

NSCLC = non-small cell lung cancer.

Grahic Jump Location

Mediastinoscopy or endobronchial ultrasound/esophageal ultrasound should be performed even if a CT or PET scan suggests no N2,3 involvement in patients with T4 tumors being considered for a surgical approach. This argument is based on the fact that CT evaluation of the mediastinum in central tumors has a high false-negative rate (about 25%).76 Furthermore, a consistent finding is that survival for patients with T4 N2,3 disease is so poor (< 10% after resection) that the presence of positive N2 disease should be considered a contraindication to aggressive surgical therapy.77 In patients who are being considered for carinal resection, it may be best to perform a mediastinoscopy at the same time as the planned resection to prevent scarring and, therefore, lack of mobility of the airways for tracheobronchial reconstruction, if indicated.

4.2 Outcomes After Surgery

Surgical outcomes for patients with carinal involvement show an average 5-year survival of 28%. Contributing to this survival is a high perioperative mortality rate averaging 10% (range, 7%-29%). Of importance, the highest reported 5-year survival (44%) comes from one of the largest series,63 which also reported a low operative mortality of only 7%. Looking across studies, the operative mortality has been decreasing and is consistently < 10% in more recent reports.77

The largest reported series of en bloc vertebral resections included 54 consecutive patients operated on over a 20-year period.72 A complete resection was achieved in 91% of patients, and one-half of the patients received induction therapy. The estimated 5-year survival was 31%, and the most important predictor of survival was a complete resection. Other series reported similar results23,7880 in Pancoast tumors.

The SVC is a relatively common T4 structure that is approached for surgical resection (Fig 2). The 5-year survival is about 20% to 25%,8183 and the operative mortality is 10% to 14%.70,81,82 Studies suggested that both long-term survival (28%-31%) and operative mortality (6%-8%) have improved over time.81,83,84 Multivariable analysis found the extent of surgery (pneumonectomy) and the extent of SVC resection (complete resection with graft replacement) to be negative prognostic factors (but not age, N status, R0 resection, or neoadjuvant therapy) in a retrospective multicenter analysis of 109 patients from 1963 to 2000.81 Another study of 39 patients undergoing SVC resection identified carinal resection and squamous histology as the only negative prognostic factors (not N status, although 5-year survival was 20% vs 38% with and without N2 involvement, respectively).83 Several studies found that the presence of N2 lymph nodes identified postoperatively did not significantly affect survival.70,81,82

Among those studies focusing specifically on aortic resection, the overall 5-year survival was 25% to 50%.85,86 The use of neoadjuvant therapy varied from 20% to 62%, with no clear conclusions drawn, and the use of adjuvant therapy was not described. Absence of N2 involvement appears to be associated with better survival (5-year survival of 70% for N0 vs 17% for N1 and 0%-9% for N2,3 disease).85,86 Complete resection has also been associated with better survival (36% vs 0%).87 In a series involving a subadventitial resection, the 5-year survival was reported to be 0%.88

In general, survival data for resections involving T4 structures have involved relatively few patients, making interpretation of the data difficult (Fig 2). The survival of patients with left-side atrial involvement has been less favorable, and the survival of patients with involvement of other T4 structures has been similar to that reported for patients with carinal involvement. A systematic review of circulatory bypass for the resection of these central tumors demonstrated an overall 5-year survival of 37% and improved outcome when bypass is planned rather than used for intraoperative complications.89

Patients with central T4 tumors should be carefully selected before undertaking surgical resection because of the limited long-term survival and the technical difficulty of the surgery. These patients need an excellent performance status with a high likelihood of being able to tolerate such a major operation. It is also prudent to perform a thorough staging evaluation to rule out mediastinal or extrathoracic metastases, and the threshold for pursuing subtle abnormalities seen on imaging tests should be low. Given the rarity of the disease, the complexity of the resection, and the relatively high operative mortality yet possibility of long-term cure, these patients should be seen at an experienced and very-high-volume specialized center.

A systematic review of preoperative chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy for patients with T4 N0,1 tumors found three trials. A 5-year survival of 20% was reported among all patients in the largest trial (57 patients of whom 62% underwent complete resection).71 These results are encouraging, given that 60% of the patients entered in the study had T4 N2 M0 tumors by careful surgical staging. By comparison, 5-year survival results for chemoradiotherapy without surgery in patients with stage IIIA,B tumors have been about 9% and 14% in large randomized trials involving sequential or concurrent chemoradiotherapy trials, respectively.8 However, these latter series included both stage IIIA and IIIB disease and did not report data separately or any data specifically in patients with T4 N0,1 tumors. A retrospective analysis of the Southwest Oncology Group trial suggested that patients with T4 N0,1 M0 tumors benefited from preoperative chemoradiotherapy and surgery compared with chemoradiotherapy alone, with an overall 5-year survival of 54% and 44%, respectively, after complete resection (R0).29 For comparison, a large number (15) of studies reported on preoperative chemotherapy with and without radiotherapy for patients with T4 or N3 disease, as summarized in a recent review.77 Approximately two-thirds of patients underwent resection (50% an R0 resection), and the 5-year survival was 25% overall and 40% after R0 resection. These results are impressive for such extensive disease. Collectively, these data suggest that preoperative therapy may be useful for T4 tumors being considered for resection.