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Eur Respir J. 2012 Feb;39(2):478-86. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00027511. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Surgical implications of the new IASLC/ATS/ERS adenocarcinoma classification.

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  • 1Dept of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Antwerp University Hospital, Wilrijkstraat 10, B-2650 Edegem, Antwerp, Belgium. paul.van.schil@uza.be

Abstract

A new adenocarcinoma classification was recently introduced by a joint working group of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), American Thoracic Society (ATS) and European Respiratory Society (ERS). A distinction is made between pre-invasive lesions, and minimally invasive and invasive adenocarcinoma. The confusing term "bronchioloalveolar carcinoma" is not used any more and new subcategories include adenocarcinoma in situ and minimally invasive adenocarcinoma. Due to a renewed interest in screen-detected nodules and early-stage lung cancers of <2 cm, this classification also has profound implications for thoracic surgeons. In this article, surgical topics are discussed: the role of a minimally invasive approach, especially video-assisted thoracic surgery, limited resection for early-stage lung cancer, the extent of lymph node dissection, the accuracy of intraoperative frozen section analysis, management of multiple lung nodules and prognostic factors in operated patients. Specific key issues are presented based on the current evidence and areas of surgical uncertainty are defined providing a basis for further studies. Thoracic surgeons will play a major role in the application and global introduction of this new adenocarcinoma classification. The remaining controversies regarding the precise diagnosis and management of early-stage lesions will have to be resolved by multidisciplinary and international collaboration.

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