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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 Jul;134(1):188-93.

Improved results of induction chemoradiation before surgical intervention for selected patients with stage IIIA-N2 non-small cell lung cancer.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Optimal management of stage IIIA-N2 non-small cell lung cancer remains controversial. The surgical arm of the North American Intergroup 0139 trial was adopted as the standard treatment for patients with resectable N2 disease at the University Health Network. Results after 7 years of experience are reported.


This is a retrospective study of consecutive patients with biopsy-proved T1-3 N2 M0 lung cancer who underwent induction chemoradiation before surgical intervention from January 1997 through August 2004. Induction chemotherapy consisted of cisplatin, 50 mg/m2, on days 1 and 8; etoposide, 50 mg/m2, on days 1 to 5, weeks 1 and 5; and concurrent daily external beam radiotherapy to 45 Gy. Lung resection was performed within 6 weeks of completion of chemoradiation, followed by 2 further cycles of consolidation chemotherapy.


Between January 1997 and August 2004, 40 patients were treated according to this protocol (25% T1, 62.5% T2, 7.5% T3, and 5% T4). Overall and disease-free median survivals were 40 and 37.1 months, respectively, whereas overall and disease-free 3-year survivals were 51.7% and 52.3%, respectively. R0 resection was achieved in 92.5%. The overall operative mortality rate was 7.5% (0% for lobectomy and 27% for pneumonectomy). Notably, all mortalities occurred within the first 2 years of our experience with this regimen.


Chemoradiation before pulmonary resection in carefully selected patients with surgically resectable stage IIIA (N2) non-small cell lung cancer can lead to improved overall and disease-free survival.

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