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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

World Journal of Surgical Oncology 1/2017

Association of lymph node involvement with the prognosis of pathological T1 invasive non-small cell lung cancer

World Journal of Surgical Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Yong-Kui Zhang, Zheng-da Chai, Lin-lin Tan, Zhao-yu Wang, Zhi-jun Chen, Han-Bo Le, Wang-Yu Zhu



Lymph node involvement could help to predict the prognosis of pathological T1 (pT1, diameters of ≤3 cm) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study assessed the clinicopathological factors and associated lymph node involvement in invasive lung adenocarcinoma (IAC) and squamous cell lung cancer (SCC) and the overall and disease-free survival associated with these factors.


Three hundred and twenty-five patients with pathological T1 NSCLC (253 IAC and 72 SCC) were retrospectively analyzed from a pool of 1094 primary lung cancer patients. The data were assessed using multiple logistic regression, Kaplan-Meier curves and multivariable analyses.


Among patients with a ≤30-mm tumor lesion (N = 325), N1 and N2 lymph node involvement was found in 28 (8.6%) and 34 (10.4%) patients, respectively. Lymph node metastasis occurred in 13.0% (33/253) of pT1 IAC patients and 40.3% (29/72) of SCC patients. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels, SCC by histology, and tumor lesions larger than 1.0 cm were associated with lymph node involvement (P < 0.0001, <0.0001, and 0.048, respectively). In IAC patients, negative lymph nodes were associated with better overall survival compared with lymph node-positive ones (P = 0.021). No significant difference was observed in SCC patients regardless of lymph node status (P = 0.40). Multivariable Cox analysis revealed that lymph node involvement was an independent prognostic predictor of overall IAC patient survival (P = 0.041), but not of SCC patient survival (P = 0.470). Chemotherapy was administered to 72.2% (52/72) of SCC patients, a significantly higher rate when compared with that of IAC patients (42.3%, 107/253).


Lymph node metastasis was inversely associated with the overall survival of IAP patients, but not with the survival of SCC patients. Patients with pT1 SCC exhibited a significantly higher rate of lymph node involvement when compared with IAC patients. Thus, a systematic lymph node dissection should be performed in pT1 IAC patients, especially in patients with IAC larger than 1.0 cm, for additional treatment selections to improve survival.
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