Background: Cervical mediastinoscopy (CM) has been
considered the gold standard for the evaluation of
mediastinal lymph nodes in the staging of non-small cell
lung cancer (NSCLC) for many years. Recent publications on the value of PET scanning might reduce the use of CM in the near future. The aim of this study was to analyse the data of our CM procedures for their reliability and contribution in the assessment of mediastinal lymph nodes.
Methods: In the period 1995-1999, 219 patients underwent CM. Data were available on 218 procedures and were analysed retrospectively. CM was performed in 162 men and 56 women with a median age of 56 years [range 29 to 80 years].
Results: Median hospitalisation time was three days.
There was no mortality and morbidity was 6%. In 96%
of procedures representative lymphoid tissue was
obtained. In 24%, biopsies contained malignancy.
Conclusions: CM is a relatively safe procedure with a high diagnostic yield. As long as PET scanning remains available at a limited level, CM remains the gold standard in the Netherlands for patients with apparently operable NSCLC.