Review Article

Cervical mediastinoscopy and video-assisted mediastinoscopic lymphadenectomy for the staging of non-small cell lung cancer

Sergi Call, Ramon Rami-Porta


The staging of mediastinal lymph nodes is essential for planning the most adequate treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). For this reason, the current American and European guidelines recommend obtaining tissue confirmation of any mediastinal abnormality seen on chest computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET). This can be done by endoscopic techniques, such as endobronchial ultrasonographic fine-needle aspiration (EBUS-FNA), esophageal ultrasonographic FNA (EUS-FNA), or a combination of the two (CUS). Traditionally, surgical methods have been reserved to validate the negative results of minimally invasive endoscopic techniques. However, based on the latest evidence, cervical mediastinoscopy and video-assisted mediastinoscopic lymphadenectomy (VAMLA) have demonstrated their superiority over minimally invasive methods in terms of performance for those tumors with normal mediastinum [clinical (c) N0-1 by CT and PET]. Therefore, cervical mediastinoscopy and VAMLA should be considered in the staging algorithms of this particular subset of NSCLC, and in the other well-established indications.

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