According to a recent article published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, pleural lavage cytology is significantly associated with survival outcomes in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and should be incorporated into the staging of the disease.
Researchers from Japan recently conducted a trial to evaluate the possible significance of results from pleural lavage cytology. The pleura is a thin membrane that lines the lungs and chest cavity. Pleural lavage cytology is the examination of cells obtained from washings of the pleura. This trial included nearly 1,200 patients with early NSCLC who underwent pleural lavage cytology between 1992 and 2001 before and after the surgical removal of their cancer.The researchers concluded that results from pleural lavage cytology following surgery should be incorporated into the staging of early NSCLC; results from this procedure were as significantly correlated with survival as standard staging procedures. Future studies are necessary in order to bring pleural lavage cytology into standard practice.
Patients diagnosed with early NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of pleural lavage cytology or the participation in a clinical trial further evaluating this procedure or other staging procedures.