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Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery versus Thoracotomy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 3 ]


Bo Ye and Ming Wang*   Pages 187 - 193 ( 7 )


Background: Patients undergoing surgery for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are often elderly and have co-morbidity conditions and decreased performance status. Compared with open thoracotomy, video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy is associated with fewer postoperative complications. Despite encouraging results for patients with NSCLC who underwent VATS, the procedure is still not widely accepted, and large retrospective studies have yielded conflicting results.

Objectives: In video-assisted lobectomy for NSCLC, it has remained controversial whether mediastinal lymphadenectomy can be performed as effectively as an open procedure via thoracotomy. To deal with inherent biases in any non-randomized comparison, we analyzed propensity-matched studies and randomized controlled trials. The aim of this study was to evaluate the treatment outcomes of VATS and open thoracotomy for NSCLC patients.

Methods: We collected publications on comparison of VATS versus open thoracotomy for NSCLC patients from 2007 to 2017. All trials analyzed the summary Hazard Ratios (HRs) of the endpoints of interest, including perioperative mortality and morbidity, and individual postoperative complications. Revman 5.3 software was used to analyze the combined pooled HRs using fixed- or random-effects models according to heterogeneity.

Results: A systematic literature search was conducted including 15 studies. The results indicated that VATS was associated with lower postoperative morbidity and mortality, and significantly lower rates of prolonged pneumonia, atrial arrhythmias and renal failure.

Conclusions: Compared with lobectomy by thoracotomy, thoracoscopic lobectomy is associated with a lower incidence of major complications, including lower rates of prolonged pneumonia, atrial arrhythmias and renal failure. Lobectomy via VATs may be the preferred strategy for appropriately selected NSCLC patients. The determinants of this advantage should be analyzed to improve the safety and outcomes of other thoracic procedures.


Video-assisted thoracic surgery, thoracotomy, non-small cell lung cancer, safety, hazard ratios, lobectomy.


Department of Thoracic Surgery, Hangzhou Red Cross Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Shulan (Hangzhou) Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang

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