FRIDAY, April 13, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Lung cancer patients who have minimally invasive surgery called thoracoscopic lobectomy to remove their tumors may have better chemotherapy outcomes than patients who have traditional open chest surgery, a new study says.
The patients who have thoracoscopic lobectomy -- performed through two or three small incisions in the side of the chest -- may also have shorter hospital stays and shorter recovery times, according to the Duke University Medical Center study published in the April issue of the journal Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Researchers looked at the outcomes of 100 lung cancer patients treated with either thoracoscopic lobectomy or traditional surgery. Of those who had the minimally invasive surgery, 18 percent experienced delayed chemotherapy, compared with 58 percent of patients who had traditional surgery. In addition, 26 percent of patients who had thoracoscopic lobectomy experienced a reduction in the dosage of their planned chemotherapy regimen, compared with 49 percent of patients who had traditional surgery.
"This study showed that patients who had the minimally invasive operation were less likely to experience delays in receiving chemotherapy or a reduction in the amount of chemotherapy we were able to give," senior investigator and lung surgeon Dr. Thomas D'Amico said in a prepared statement.
"Chemotherapy after surgery has been shown to improve survival in lung cancer patients, so the more effectively we deliver that chemotherapy, the better."
Currently, thoracoscopic lobectomy is used in about 10 percent of lung cancer surgeries in the United States, but more than half of all patients who require surgery to remove lung cancer could be candidates for the procedure, D'Amico said.
The American Medical Association has more about lung cancer.