South Korean researchers have found that a sleeve lobectomy is a favorable alternative to a pneumonectomy procedure for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology analyzed 210 lung cancer patients who underwent either a sleeve lobectomy or pneumonectomy from 1996 to 2005 and compared mortality, morbidity, survival, recurrence, and postoperative pulmonary function rates related to the surgical treatment used.
Patients in the pneumonectomy group had poorer survival rates than those in the sleeve lobectomy group—41.8% 3-year survival and 32.14% 5-year survival for those who underwent a pneumonectomy versus 71.4% and 58.43% with a sleeve lobectomy, respectively. The results show that a sleeve lobectomy can be performed with low operative risk and may offer superior survival rates and better postoperative pulmonary function compared with the pneumonectomy in selected patients.
A pneumonectomy treatment involves removing one entire lung, whereas a sleeve lobectomy removes only a section of the lung that contains the tumor. The sleeve lobectomy was first introduced for patients with lung cancer who were unable to tolerate a pneumonectomy due to compromised lung function. Initially, surgeons considered the sleeve lobectomy as an alternative procedure because of the complex surgical technique and the possibility of not removing all of the tumor compared with the pneumonectomy.
“The results of our study indicate that a sleeve lobectomy is a safe and effective operation. If anatomically feasible, a sleeve lobectomy is recommended as a favorable alternative to pneumonectomy in patients even with good pulmonary function,” said Yong Soo Choi, MD, head of the study.