Surgical Treatment of Superior Sulcus Tumors: A 15-Year Single-center Experience

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This paper reports on the characteristics, treatment modalities, and outcomes of patients with superior sulcus tumors who underwent surgery over a period of 15 years in 1 institution. Clinical records of 94 consecutive patients operated on by the same surgical team for non–small cell lung cancer between July 1998 and December 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. All patients received lung and chest wall en bloc resection. Forty-eight (51%) received induction treatments. Surgery was an anterior approach in 46 patients (48.9%), Paulson incision in 35 (37.2%), and a combined approach in 13 (13.8%). Lung resections were 78 lobectomies (83%), 3 were pneumonectomies (3.2%), 6 were bronchoplastic reconstructions (6.4%), and 7 were wedge resections (7.4%). Nodal dissection was systematic in 96% of patients. The median number of resected ribs was 2 (1-5), chest wall residual defect was reconstructed in 42 patients (44.7%), and 21 patients had an associated vascular resection (22.3%). Resection was radical in 85 patients (90.4%). Overall 90-day mortality was 9.6%. After a median follow-up of 1.9 years, 5-year and 10-year overall survival rates were 35% and 23%, respectively. A lower 5-year survival was observed in patients with nodal disease (48% in N0 vs 18% in N+; P < 0.0001), incomplete resection (21% for incomplete vs 37% for complete resection; P = 0.15), and anteriorly located tumor (anterior vs posterior: 26% vs 50%; P = 0.05). Pancoast tumor is a severe condition, but long-term survival may be achieved in selected cases. Nodal involvement, completeness of resection, and vascular invasion are the most important prognostic factors, and induction treatment may play a role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017


  • non–small cell lung cancer
  • pancoast tumor
  • superior sulcus tumor
  • surgery
  • T4 tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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