Selecting the diagnostic procedure for mediastinal restaging after chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in Stage IIIA-N2 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients remains a problem. The aim of the study was to determine the efficacy of endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) for the evaluation of mediastinal lymph nodes in the restaging of NSCLC patients.
The present multicentric study retrospectively analyzed the results of Stage IIIA-N2 NSCLC patients who had undergone EBUS for mediastinal restaging after preoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy or both.
In 44 patients with 73 N2 nodes, malignant cells were identified in EBUS-TBNA from 23 patients (57.5%) and 25 lymph nodes (34.2%). Twenty-one patients (42.5%) and 48 lymph nodes (65.8%) were negative for nodal metastasis. All of these patients with negative results subsequently underwent mediastinoscopy or surgery ( n = 9 and n = 12, respectively). Metastasis was detected in 5 (23.8%) of 21 patients and 6 (12.5%) of 48 lymph nodes. The diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predicted value and accuracy of EBUS-TBNA based on number of patients were 82.1%, 100%, 100%, 76.2%, and 88.6%, respectively.
EBUS-TBNA should be done before invasive procedures in restaging of the mediastinum in patients previously treated with neoadjuvant therapy because of high diagnostic accuracy rate. However, negative results should be confirmed with invasive procedures such as mediastinoscopy and thoracoscopy.