Upfront surgery as first-line therapy in selected patients with stage IIIA non–small cell lung cancer

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Surgery plays an important role in the multidisciplinary treatment strategy for patients with stage IIIA non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Besides induction therapy, patients could benefit from surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This study analyzed a subset of patients with pIIIA NSCLC who underwent upfront surgery as first-line therapy.


Selected patients with pIIIA NSCLC who received upfront surgery were retrospectively analyzed. Clinicopathologic characteristics and survival outcomes including progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were evaluated.


A total of 668 patients were identified. Five hundred sixty-five patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 157 patients received adjuvant radiotherapy after surgery. The median PFS and OS were 17.0 and 44.0 months, respectively. The 3-year and 5-year PFS rates were 31.6% and 21.0%, and the 3-year and 5-year OS rates were 54.7% and 43.0%. Patients with adenocarcinoma (AD) had better OS than those with squamous cell carcinoma (5-year OS: P = .026). Patients with low-grade AD (acinar and papillar) had a similar PFS and OS compared with patients with high-grade AD (solid, micropapillary, and mucinous) (5-year PFS: P = .894; 5-year OS: P = .439). Patients with mutated epidermal growth factor receptor had a similar OS to patients with wild-type epidermal growth factor receptor (5-year OS: P = .121). Patients with clinical N0 status (P = .004) and patients with single-station of pathologic N2 (P < .001) had better OS.


Upfront surgery followed by adjuvant therapy may provide favorable survival outcomes for selected patients with pIIIA NSCLC, especially for patients with AD or patients with clinical N0 and pathologic single-station N2 diseases.

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