Background: To elucidate the evolution of a lung-sparing strategy with sleeve lobectomy (SL) and induction therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 205 patients with NSCLC who underwent pneumonectomy (PN, n = 54) or SL (n = 151) from 1994 to 2013. The study period was divided into four 5-year periods, and surgical trends were analyzed, focusing on the PN:SL ratio. Results: PN was associated with a significantly advanced pathological stage, a larger tumor size and less pulmonary function compared with SL. The PN group had higher 30-day (3.7 vs. 0 %, p = 0.018) and 90-day (13.0 vs. 1.3 %, p = 0.0003) mortality than the SL group. The overall 5-year survival rate was significantly higher with SL (71.5 %) versus PN (42.8 %, p = 0.011) for patients with pN0-1. The ratio of PN among total surgeries decreased significantly over the four periods (1994-1998, 1999-2003, 2004-2008, and 2009-2013) from 5.63 % to 3.17, 1.40, and 1.38 %, respectively (p < 0.0001); in contrast, the PN:SL ratio increased significantly from 1.64 to 2.50, 3.71, and 5.44, respectively (p = 0.041). During the last period, when we introduced induction therapy, 38 of 651 who received surgery underwent induction therapy. The PN:SL ratios of those who did and did not undergo induction therapy were 15 (PN: 1, SL: 15) and 4.25 (PN: 8, SL: 34), respectively. Conclusions: A lung-sparing strategy with SL for NSCLC can decrease the PN rate to less than 2 % with less mortality. Induction therapy may facilitate SL and increase the PN:SL ratio.
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