Skip to main content
  • Meeting abstract
  • Open access
  • Published:

Systematic lymph node sampling at operation results in more node positive staging in NSCLC


It has been shown that the survival of patients with NSCLC is related to nodal involvement. Both BTS and SIGN guidelines recognise that simple nodal sampling is not adequate to accurately stage NSCLC and recommend at least systematic sampling of mediastinal nodes. In the West of Scotland all patients with node positive disease are considered for adjuvant chemotherapy. This requires accurate staging of lymph nodes.


We report on the nodal staging of all patients in 2012 and 2013 who underwent lung resection.


All patients who underwent surgery for NSCLC at The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in 2012 and 2013 were included. Data were collected on histological diagnosis, T and N staging from histology reports, the lymph nodes stations sampled at operation and the operating surgeon. Adequate lymph node sampling was considered to have been performed if more than three mediastinal lymph node stations were sampled, as this is a quality performance indicator set out by NHS Scotland.


583 patients underwent lung resection. There was no difference in the proportion of patients with nodal disease between operating consultant (p = 0.120). In this cohort, as the number of lymph node stations sampled increased, the proportion of node positive disease increased from 16% and 19% if only 1 or 2 lymph node stations were sampled respectively, to 42% node positive if more than 6 stations were sampled (p = 0.002). When 3 or more mediastinal lymph node stations were sampled, then the detection of nodal disease increased by 50% (p = 0.006).


By sampling more mediastinal lymph nodes, more diseased lymph nodes were detected. This meant these patients were more accurately staged and considered for adjuvant chemotherapy, therefore potentially increasing their chances of survival.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Whiteley, J., Beattie, G., McKay, A. et al. Systematic lymph node sampling at operation results in more node positive staging in NSCLC. J Cardiothorac Surg 10 (Suppl 1), A346 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: