Bronchoscopic needle aspiration of mediastinal lymph nodes (BNA/N2) is a safe, but underutilized, procedure for staging patients with lung cancer. This study compared survival duration between lung cancer patients with positive versus negative cytologic studies of mediastinal bronchoscopic needle aspirates.
Survival was calculated for all patients who had BNA/N2 for staging as part of their initial diagnostic bronchoscopy for the evaluation of lung cancer. Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to compare survival of BNA/N2-positive versus BNA/N2-negative patients.
We studied 744 patients at two hospitals in eastern Maine over an 8-year period. In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a 3-year survival was 15% among BNA/N2-negative patients and 3% among BNA/N2-positive patients. In small cell lung cancer (SCLC), survival was not significantly different for BNA/N2-negative versus BNA/N2-positive patients.
NSCLC patients with a positive BNA/N2 experienced decreased survival. In SCLC, longevity was unaffected by BNA/N2 results.
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