World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 955–962 | Cite as

Lung Adenocarcinoma has a Higher Risk of Lymph Node Metastasis than Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis

  • Han-Yu Deng
  • Miao Zeng
  • Gang Li
  • Guha Alai
  • Jun Luo
  • Lun-Xu Liu
  • Qinghua Zhou
  • Yi-Dan LinEmail author
Original Scientific Report



Controversy still exists in which subtype of non-small-cell lung cancer [squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) or adenocarcinoma] is more likely to have lymph node (LN) metastasis. The aim of this study is to compare the pattern of LN metastasis in two cohorts of matched patients surgically treated for SCC or adenocarcinoma.


A retrospective analysis of patients undergoing lobectomy or segmentectomy with systematic lymphadenectomy without preoperative treatment for lung SCC or adenocarcinoma was conducted in this study. Data for analysis consisted of age, gender, tumor size, lobe-specific tumor location, tumor location (peripheral or central), and pathologic findings. We conducted the propensity score-matched (PSM) analysis to eliminate potential bias effects of possible confounding factors.


From January 2015 to December 2016 in our department, we finally included a total of 387 patients (including 63 patients with SCC and 324 patients with adenocarcinoma) for analysis. For the unmatched cohort, there was no sufficient evidence of significantly different number of positive LNs (P = 0.90) and rate of LN metastasis (P = 0.23) between SCC patients and adenocarcinoma patients. However, potential confounding factors, for example gender, tumor size, tumor location, tumor differentiation, and total number of dissected LNs, were significantly different between patients with SCC and those with adenocarcinoma. In the analysis of matched cohort after PSM analysis, those above confounding factors were comparable between the two groups. However, patients with adenocarcinoma had significantly more mean positive LNs (2.2 and 0.7; P = 0.008) and a higher rate of LN metastasis (53% and 29%; P = 0.016) than those with SCC.


Lung adenocarcinoma had a higher risk of LN metastasis than SCC, suggesting that different therapeutic modalities may be indicated for the two different subtypes of lung cancer.


Author’s contributions

HYD and MZ drafted the manuscript. GL, GA, and JL collected the data. HYD, MZ, LXL, QZ, and YDL revised the manuscript. HYD, GL and YDL designed the study.


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China [Nos. 31071210; 81672291] (to Yi-Dan Lin).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Han-Yu Deng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miao Zeng
    • 3
  • Gang Li
    • 1
  • Guha Alai
    • 1
  • Jun Luo
    • 1
  • Lun-Xu Liu
    • 1
  • Qinghua Zhou
    • 2
  • Yi-Dan Lin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Thoracic Surgery, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Lung Cancer Center, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.West China School of Public HealthSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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