Failure rates and patterns of recurrence in patients with resected N1 non-small-cell lung cancer

John M. Varlotto*, Laura Nyshel Medford-Davis, Abram Recht, John C. Flickinger, Eric Schaefer, Malcolm M. Decamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the local and distant recurrence rates and patterns of failure in patients undergoing potentially curative resection of N1 non-small-cell lung cancer. Methods and Materials: The study included 60 consecutive unirradiated patients treated from 2000 to 2006. Median follow-up was 30 months. Failure rates were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method. A univariate Cox proportional hazard model was used to assess factors associated with recurrence. Results: Local and distant failure rates (as the first site of failure) at 2, 3, and 5 years were 33%, 33%, and 46%; and 26%, 26%, and 32%, respectively. The most common site of local failure was in the mediastinum; 12 of 18 local recurrences would have been included within proposed postoperative radiotherapy fields. Patients who received chemotherapy were found to be at increased risk of local failure, whereas those who underwent pneumonectomy or who had more positive nodes had significantly increased risks of distant failure. Conclusions: Patients with resected non-small-cell lung cancer who have N1 disease are at substantial risk of local recurrence as the first site of relapse, which is greater than the risk of distant failure. The role of postoperative radiotherapy in such patients should be revisited in the era of adjuvant chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-359
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Chemotherapy
  • Lung cancer
  • N1 nodal involvement
  • Pattern of recurrence
  • Surgical resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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