Surgical treatment for early stage non-small cell lung cancer

Vignesh Raman, Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, John Z. Deng, Thomas A. D’Amico


Surgery is the standard of care for early stage non-small cell lung cancer. There is significant debate about the type of operation most effective for lung cancer. Minimally invasive techniques like videoassisted (VATS) and robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (RATS) have been shown to reduce postoperative complications and shorten hospitalization. However, there remains skepticism about their oncologic effectiveness when compared to an open approach, though recent literature suggests no differences in upstaging or survival between VATS and thoracotomy. The extent of resection for early lung cancer also remains a matter of debate. Lobectomy remains the preferred operation and is associated with better survival and lower locoregional recurrence, but there is increased interest in the role of sublobar resections. Sublobar resections have similar mortality to lobar resections in small ground glass-predominant tumors. We examine the literature surrounding these controversies in this review.