Nodal management and upstaging of disease: initial results from the Italian VATS Lobectomy Registry.

Bertani A, Gonfiotti A, Nosotti M, Ferrari PA, De Monte L, Russo E, Di Paola G, Solli P, Droghetti A, Bertolaccini L, Crisci R; Italian VATS Group.

J Thorac Dis. 2017 Jul;9(7):2061-2070.


BACKGROUND: VATS lobectomy is an established option for the treatment of early-stage NSCLC. Complete lymph node dissection (CD), systematic sampling (SS) or resecting a specific number of lymph nodes (LNs) and stations are possible intra-operative LN management strategies. METHODS: All VATS lobectomies from the “Italian VATS Group” prospective database were retrospectively reviewed. The type of surgical approach (CD or SS), number of LN resected (RN), the positive/resected LN ratio (LNR) and the number and types of positive LN stations were recorded. The rates of nodal upstaging were assessed based on different LN management strategies. RESULTS: CD was the most frequent approach (72.3%). Nodal upstaging rates were 6.03% (N0-to-N1), 5.45% (N0-to-N2), and 0.58% (N1-to-N2). There was no difference in N1 or N2 upstaging rates between CD and SS. The number of resected nodes was correlated with both N1 (OR =1.02; CI, 1.01-1.04; P=0.03) and N2 (OR =1.02; CI, 1.01-1.05; P=0.001) upstaging. Resecting 12 nodes had the best ability to predict upstaging (6 N1 LN or 7 N2 LN). The finding of two positive LN stations best predicted N2 upstaging [area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) =0.98]. CONCLUSIONS: Nodal upstaging (and, indirectly, the effectiveness of intra-operative nodal management) cannot be predicted based on the surgical technique (CD or SS). A quantitative assessment of intra-operative LN management may be a more appropriate and measurable approach to justify the extension of LN resection during VATS lobectomy.