Annals of Thoracic Surgery vol:54 issue:5 pages:999-1013
Locally advanced lung cancer (stage IIIa, IIIb) in which the primary tumor is proximal (T3) or has invaded adjacent structures (T3) or organs (T4) or in which mediastinal lymph nodes are involved (N2, N3) worsens the prognosis significantly. However, in stage IIIa (T3 or N2), when surgical treatment results in total removal of the primary tumor and involved lymph nodes, there still is a reasonable chance for ultimate cure. On the other hand, total excision can be very rarely performed in T4 or N3 tumors. Therefore, this group (stage IIIb) usually indicates unresectability. Disseminated lung cancer with distant metastasis (stage IV) is still considered to be incurable. Nevertheless, solitary metastatic sites (M1), especially brain, have been treated on occasion by resection of the primary tumor and removal of the solitary metastasis. This appears to improve median survival and does yield 5-year survival in selected patients. The results after surgical treatment in these patients with higher stage lung cancer reported over the last 10 years are reviewed.