Salvage Surgery After Definitive Chemoradiotherapy for Non–small Cell Lung Cancer

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Following definitive chemoradiation therapy, 24%-35% of patients with locally advanced non–small cell lung cancer have recurrence. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility of salvage surgery after definitive chemoradiotherapy and perioperative morbidity and mortality rates to determine long-term survival. From June 2003 to June 2013, 35 patients were eligible for lung cancer resection owing to relapse after definitive chemoradiation therapy. All patients received cisplatin-based chemotherapy and definitive radiotherapy (mean Gy: 58) with curative intent and all underwent total body computed tomography scan and 18-fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography scan after the end of medical treatment and before surgery. Cyto-histologic confirmation was attempted in 20 (57%) patients. Six patients had exploratory thoracotomies. Twenty-nine patients underwent lung cancer resection: 11 lobectomies, 1 bilobectomy, and 17 pneumonectomies (7 right, 10 left). Complete resection was obtained in 27 of 35 (77%) patients. Thirteen (45%) patients underwent extended resection: intrapericardial pneumonectomy in 5 patients, vascular or bronchial sleeve resection in 2, atrial resection in 1, tracheal sleeve in 1, superior vena cava resection and reconstruction in 2 (1 with tracheal-sleeve resection), and chest wall resection in 2. Median time from chemoradiation therapy to resection was 7 months (range: 1-39). Viable tumor was found in 26 of 29 (89.6%) patients. Major complications occurred in 9 patients (25.7%). There were 2 (5.7%) perioperative deaths within 30 days. With a median follow-up of 13 months, postoperative 2- and 3-year survival rates after complete resection were 46% and 37%, respectively. Salvage lung resection after definitive chemoradiation therapy is feasible, with acceptable postoperative survival and complication rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2 2017


  • definitive chemoradiotherapy
  • non–small cell lung cancer
  • salvage
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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