Mediastinal lymph nodes: Ignore? Sample? Dissect? The role of mediastinal node dissection in the surgical management of primary lung cancer
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- Deslauriers, J. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg (2012) 60: 724. doi:10.1007/s11748-012-0086-3
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The role of mediastinal lymph node dissection (MLND) during the resection of non-small-cell lung cancer is still unclear although most surgeons agree that a minimum of hilar and mediastinal nodes must be examined for appropriate pathological staging. Current surgical practices vary from visual inspection of the mediastinum with biopsy of only abnormal looking nodes to systematic mediastinal node sampling which is to the biopsy of lymph nodes from multiple levels whether they appear abnormal or not to MLND which involves the systematic removal of all lymph node bearing tissue from multiple sites unilaterally or bilaterally within the mediastinum. This review article looks at the evidence and arguments in favour of lymphadenectomy, including improved pathological staging, better locoregional control, and ultimately longer disease-free survival and those against which are longer operating time, increased operative morbidity, and lack of evidence for survival benefit.