The authors describe the usefulness of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in the staging and diagnosis of primary lung cancer. In the Oncological Thoracic Surgery Department of Milan's National Cancer Institute, over the period from January 1995 to January 2000, 46 patients, suspected of having mediastinal lymphadenopathies in the presence of lung cancer, were proposed for a VATS biopsy. Forty-four patients underwent a thoracoscopic lymph node biopsy (95%), while in 2 subjects, in whom pleural metastases were found, the histological diagnosis was established by pleural metastatic nodule thoracoscopic biopsy (5%). A VATS lymph node biopsy was performed in 16 cases at level 5 (35%), in 13 at level 6 (28%), in 9 at level 7 (19%) and in 6 at level 8 (13%). Lymph node biopsies were ipsilateral in 37 patients (80%) and contralateral in 7 (15%). No postoperative complications were observed. Histological examination revealed adenocarcinoma in 23 cases (50%), epidermoid carcinoma in 12 (26%), microcytoma in 8 (17%) and giant-cell lung carcinoma in 3 (7%). Two patients were classified as stage IV (5%), 7 as stage III B (15%) and 21 as stage III A (45%). The subsequent treatment was neoadjuvant chemotherapy for stage III A patients and chemotherapy in association with radiotherapy for stage III B subjects. The patients with microcytoma underwent integrated radiotherapy and chemotherapy and pan-encephalic radiotherapy. Sixteen patients, with negative frozen-section histological findings for mediastinal lymph node neoplastic disease, underwent pulmonary resection after thoracotomy in the same operating session (35%) and were subsequently classified as stages I and II. In conclusion, VATS proved extremely useful in the diagnosis and staging of patients affected by lung cancer with synchronous lymph node enlargement. This procedure allowed the diagnosis of suspect involved mediastinal lymph nodes in all cases thus affected and the exclusion of lymph node disease in patients subsequently treated by lung resection in a single session. The precise staging obtained then made it possible to direct the patients towards the most appropriate form of treatment.
|Translated title of the contribution||Significance of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery in the diagnosis and staging of primary pulmonary neoplasms|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - May 2001|
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