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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Sep;94(3):914-20. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.04.088. Epub 2012 Jul 21.

The role of consolidation therapy for stage III non-small cell lung cancer with persistent N2 disease after induction chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Persistent pathologic mediastinal nodal involvement after induction chemotherapy and surgical resection is a negative prognostic factor for stage III-N2 non-small cell lung cancer patients. This population has high rates of local-regional failure and distant failure, yet the effectiveness of additional therapies is not clear. We assessed the role of consolidative therapies (postoperative radiation therapy and chemotherapy) for such patients.


In all, 179 patients with stage III-N2 non-small cell lung cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center were treated with induction chemotherapy followed by surgery from 1998 through 2008; 61 patients in this cohort had persistent, pathologically confirmed, mediastinal nodal disease, and were treated with postoperative radiation therapy. Local-regional failure was defined as recurrence at the surgical site or lymph nodes (levels 1 to 14, including supraclavicular), or both. Overall survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and survival outcomes were assessed by log rank tests. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to identify factors influencing local-regional failure, distant failure, and overall survival.


All patients received postoperative radiation therapy after surgery, but approximately 25% of the patients also received additional chemotherapy: 9 (15%) with concurrent chemotherapy, 4 (7%) received adjuvant sequential chemotherapy, and 2 (3%) received both. Multivariate analysis indicated that additional postoperative chemotherapy significantly reduced distant failure (hazard ratio 0.183, 95% confidence interval: 0.052 to 0.649, p=0.009) and improved overall survival (hazard ratio 0.233, 95% confidence interval: 0.089 to 0.612, p=0.003). However, additional postoperative chemotherapy had no affect on local-regional failure.


Aggressive consolidative therapies may improve outcomes for patients with persistent N2 disease after induction chemotherapy and surgery.

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