Propensity-matched comparison of video-assisted thoracoscopic with thoracotomy lobectomy for locally advanced non–small cell lung cancer

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We evaluated whether video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy for locally advanced non–small cell lung cancer could be performed safely and with acceptable long-term outcomes by our improved technique and compared with standard thoracotomy lobectomy in a well-balanced population.


Patients with clinical stage II and III A non–small cell lung cancers who received lobectomy were reviewed. Video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomies were all performed with Wang's technique by the surgeons who had overcome the learning curve and achieved proficiency. By using propensity-matched analysis, perioperative outcomes and long-term survival were compared.


Matching based on propensity scores produced 120 patients in each group. Conversion rate to thoracotomy was 11.7%. After thoracoscopic lobectomy, hospital length of stay was shorter compared with thoracotomy (9.2 vs 12 days; P = .014) despite similar rates of postoperative complications (30/125 [25%] vs 34/125 [28.3%]; P = .56). Disease-free survival (49.1% vs 42.2%; P = .40) and overall survival (55.0% vs 57.1%; P = .73) at 5 years were similar between groups. Although advanced pathologic stage (hazard ratio [HR], 2.018; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.330–3.062) and no postoperative chemotherapy (HR, 1.880; 95% CI, 1.236–2.858) were independently associated with increased hazard of death in multivariable Cox regression at each time point in follow-up, thoracoscopic lobectomy was not (HR, 1.075; 95% CI, 0.714–1.620; P = .73).


With continued experience and optimized technique, video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy can be performed in the majority of cases without compromising perioperative outcomes and oncologic efficacy.

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