Postchemotherapy resection of residual tumor in limited stage small cell lung cancer

D. H. Johnson, L. H. Einhorn, I. Mandelbaum, S. D. Williams, F. A. Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


To determine the feasibility of post-chemotherapy resection of residual tumor in small cell lung cancer, 24 selected patients with limited-stage disease were evaluated for exploratory thoracotomy. All 24 patients achieved partial or complete clinical response to chemotherapy and were considered adequate medical candidates for surgical resection. Fifteen patients underwent a lobectomy or pneumonectomy, 13 of whom had residual tumor in the resected specimen. Of the nine remaining patients, seven had no tumor found on biopsy at thoracotomy and two had unresectable mediastinal node involvement. No chemotherapy was administered postoperatively in any patient until disease progression or relapse was documented. Median survival for the entire group was 19 months and did not differ according to the surgical procedure performed. Nineteen patients had relapse. Patients undergoing biopsy only recurred locally in six of seven cases a median of five months post-thoracotomy (range one to six months). Two 'biopsy only' patients were tumor free at 34+ and 56+ months. Local recurrence was observed in six of 12 resected patients, while six patients experienced only extrathoracic metastases. Median time to recurrence for resected patients was also five months. Four resected patients experienced late recurrence 16 to 36 months postoperatively and were alive with tumor at 29+ to 42+ months. Two resected patients were tumor-free at 13+ and 37+ months. Post-chemotherapy surgical resection was feasible in limited-stage patients and improved local control of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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