Lung cancer surgery: an up to date
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) GLOBOCAN World Cancer Report, lung cancer affects more than 1 million people a year worldwide. In Greece according to the 2008 GLOBOCAN report, there were 6,667 cases recorded, 18% of the total incidence of all cancers in the population. Furthermore, there were 6,402 deaths due to lung cancer, 23.5% of all deaths due to cancer. Therefore, in our country, lung cancer is the most common and deadly form of cancer for the male population. The most important prognostic indicator in lung cancer is the extent of disease. The Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC) and the American Joint Committee for Cancer Staging (AJCC) developed the tumour, node, and metastases (TNM) staging system which attempts to define those patients who might be suitable for radical surgery or radical radiotherapy, from the majority, who will only be suitable for palliative measures. Surgery has an important part for the therapy of patients with lung cancer. “Lobectomy is the gold standard treatment”. This statement may be challenged in cases of stage Ia cancer or in patients with limited pulmonary function. In these cases an anatomical segmentectomy with lymph node dissection is an acceptable alternative. Chest wall invasion is not a contraindication to resection. En-bloc rib resection and reconstruction is the treatment of choice. N2 disease represents both a spectrum of disease and the interface between surgical and non-surgical treatment of lung cancer Evidence from trials suggests that multizone or unresectable N2 disease should be treated primarily by chemoradiotherapy. There may be a role for surgery if N2 is downstaged to N0 and lobectomy is possible, but pneumonectomy is avoidable. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is considered a systemic disease at diagnosis, because the potential for hematogenous and lymphogenic metastases is very high. The efficacy of surgical intervention for SCLC is not clear. Lung cancer resection can be performed using several surgical techniques. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy is a safe, efficient, well accepted and widespread technique among thoracic surgeons. The 5-year survival rate following complete resection of lung cancer is stage dependent. Incomplete resection rarely is useful and cures the patient.