Introduction: Thoracoscopic lobectomy for primary lung cancer is performed at many institutions. However, few reports are available on postoperative prognosis for progressive stages. In 2004, we adopted lobectomy by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), which would be applicable to the clinical stages up to stage IIIA. This study reports long-term outcomes of surgery for primary lung cancer at several stages, including IIIA. Methods: We compared the long-term outcomes of 315 VATS cases with those of 159 open thoracotomy cases. Results: The overall 5-year survival rate was 78.1% for the VATS group and 61.9% for the open thoracotomy group. A statistically significant difference between the survival curves of the two groups was observed (P =.001). When analyzing the survival curves for both groups by pathological (p) stage, significant differences were observed for p-stages IB and IIIA, with the VATS group producing better results than the open thoracotomy group. Conclusion: The long-term outcomes of patients with primary lung cancer at our institution were more favorable in the group undergoing VATS lobectomy than in the group undergoing open thoracotomy.
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