Risk factors for local and regional recurrence in patients with resected N0–N1 non-small-cell lung cancer, with implications for patient selection for adjuvant radiation therapy

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the actuarial risk of local and regional failure in patients with completely resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and to assess surgical and pathological factors affecting this risk.

Patients and methods

Between January 1998 and December 2009, 1402 consecutive stage I–III (N0–N1) NSCLC patients underwent complete resection without adjuvant radiation therapy. The median follow-up was 42 months.


Local–regional recurrence was identified in 9% of patients, with local failure alone in 3% of patients, regional failure alone in 4% of patients, and both local and regional failure simultaneously in 2% of patients. Patients who had local failure were found to be at increased risk of mortality. By multivariate analyses, three variables were shown to be independently significant risk factors for local [surgical procedure (single/multiple wedges + segmentectomy versus lobectomy + bilobectomy + pneumonectomy), tumor size >2.7 cm, and visceral pleural invasion] and regional (pathologic N1 stage, visceral pleural invasion, and lymphovascular space invasion, LVI) recurrence, respectively.


Patients with N0–N1 disease have low rates of locoregional recurrence after surgical resection. However, several prognostic factors can be identified that increase this risk and identify patients who may benefit from adjuvant treatment.

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