Locally advanced, stage IIIA-N2 Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents a heterogeneous patient population. Considerable controversy exists as to the optimal management of these patients. Local therapy alone with a single modality, namely surgery or radiation, is associated with high recurrence rates and low overall survival. Consequently, multimodality treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, with or without the utilization of surgery) has developed as a means of both local and systemic control for patients with stage IIIA-N2 NSCLC, and has led to improved overall survival. While it is clear that multimodality therapy is beneficial, the ideal composition of the treatment regimen remains a work in progress. As a result, the optimal management of patients with stage IIIA-N2 NSCLC is widely debated, as is the role for surgery in a multimodality treatment regimen. Herein, we review the current literature supporting multimodality therapy for stage IIIA-N2 NSCLC with an emphasis on the data supporting the role of surgery in resectable and potentially resectable patients.
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