OBJECTIVES Induction therapy (IT) has gained popularity in recent years, becoming a standard of treatment in resectable lymph node-positive NSCLC. IT aims to downstage the disease (shrinkage of tumour and clearance of lymph node-metastases), clear distant micrometastases and prolong survival. Potential disadvantages are increased morbidity and/or mortality after surgery and risk of progression of disease that could have been initially resected. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes and prognostic factors in a series of patients with lymph node-positive NSCLC receiving IT followed by surgery. METHODS A total of 86 patients (75.6% males, median age 63 years) affected by NSCLC in clinical stage IIIA (n = 80) or IIIB (n = 6), with pathologically proven lymph node involvement, underwent platinum-based IT followed by surgery between 2000 and 2009. RESULTS Eighty (93%) patients received a median of 3 cycles of chemotherapy, and 6 (7%) underwent induction chemoradiotherapy. Response to IT was complete in 3.5%, partial in 59.3% and stable disease in 37.2% of patients. Postoperative morbidity and mortality were 25.6 and 2.3%, respectively. At pathological evaluation, 38.4% of patients had a downstaging of disease with a complete lymph node clearance in 31.4%. Median overall survival was 23 months (5-year survival 33%). Univariate analysis found clinical stage (P = 0.02), histology (P = 0.01), response to IT (P = 0.02) and type of intervention (P = 0.047) to have predictive roles in survival. A better but not significant survival was also found for pN0 vs pN+ (P = 0.22), downstaged tumours (P = 0.08) and left side (P = 0.06). On multivariate analysis, clinical response to neoadjuvant therapy (P = 0.01) and age (P = 0.03) were the only independent predictors of survival. CONCLUSIONS The use of IT for lymph node-positive NSCLC seems justified by low morbidity and/or mortality and good survival rates. Patients with response to IT showed greater benefit in the long term.
- Induction chemotherapy
- Mediastinal nodal involvement
- N2 non-small-cell lung cancer
- Neoadjuvant therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine