Factors associated with nodal metastasis in 2-centimeter or less non-small cell lung cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Lymph node involvement is an important determinant of treatment and prognosis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and must be determined via surgical lymph node (LN) evaluation. However, lymphadenectomy is associated with multiple significant morbidities. Recent studies have suggested LN evaluation can be foregone in some or all patients with NSCLC 2.0cm. Our objective was to identify whether these patients may be safely spared the morbidity of lymphadenectomy. METHODS: We undertook a retrospective study of patients treated for NSCLC 2.0cm at a single institution from 2005 to 2017. We examined patient, demographic, and tumor variables for associations with LN metastases via univariable and multivariable analyses. RESULTS: In total, 555 patients met our inclusion criteria. Our primary independent variables included tumor size, histology, and histologic subtype. Although tumors 1cm were less likely to have LN metastases than 1.1- to 2-cm tumors (6.8% vs 13.3%), there was no statistically significant difference. Histologic type was not associated with LN status. In an adenocarcinoma subgroup analysis, micropapillary predominant tumors were more likely to have LN metastases. All invasive mucinous adenocarcinomas and minimally invasive adenocarcinomas were N0. CONCLUSIONS: LN evaluation may be unnecessary in patients with minimally invasive adenocarcinoma or invasive mucinous adenocarcinomas 2.0cm. However, this information is rarely available pre- or intraoperatively. Thus, we recommend LN evaluation always be performed when possible, even for subcentimeter NSCLC, unless the histology is absolutely certain. To our knowledge, this is the largest dataset published to study patients with NSCLC 2.0cm.

published proceedings

  • J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg

altmetric score

  • 4.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Pani, E., Kennedy, G., Zheng, X., Ukert, B., Jarrar, D., Gaughan, C., ... Singhal, S.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Pani, Ethan||Kennedy, Gregory||Zheng, Xin||Ukert, Benjamin||Jarrar, Doraid||Gaughan, Colleen||Pechet, Taine||Kucharczuk, John||Singhal, Sunil

publication date

  • March 2020