Hackensack Meridian: New lung cancer procedure could displace more invasive method

Standard surgical procedures for lung cancer patients are still effective even when done in a minimally invasive manner, according to new research from Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township, N.J.

Lung cancer patients who underwent typical removal of a lung lobe for stage 1 cancer had similar outcomes to patients who underwent removal of only the tumor and tissue around it instead of the entire lung lobe. The findings "may change the way we manage early-stage lung cancer," Thomas Bauer, MD, lead author of the study and chair of surgery at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, said in a March 15 news release. 

Dr. Bauer and his team of researchers randomly assigned 697 lung cancer patients who needed the procedure to either the removal of a lung lobe or the less invasive procedure only removing the tumor and surrounding tissue. After follow-up years later, they found that outcomes and overall survival were not inferior to the results of the more extensive lung lobe removal procedure — determining the less invasive tumor and tissue removal is just as effective for treatment. The recurrence rate was 64.1 percent for the more invasive procedure and 63.6 percent for the less invasive one. Survival rates were also similar at 78.9 percent and 80.3 percent, respectively.

"These findings will become increasingly relevant as the proportion of patients with early-stage lung cancer increases as lung cancer screening expands, and as there are more older patients with early-stage disease for whom sublobar resection may be the preferred surgery," the release states.

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