Respirology. 2020 Jul 30. doi: 10.1111/resp.13920. Online ahead of print.
Surgical resection remains the only effective means of cure in the vast majority of patients with early-stage lung cancer. It can be performed via a traditional open approach (particularly thoracotomy) or a minimally invasive approach. VATS is ‘keyhole’ surgery in the chest, and was first used for lung cancer resection in the early 1990s. Since then, a large volume of evolving clinical evidence has confirmed that VATS lung cancer resection offered proven safety and feasibility, better patient-reported post-operative outcomes, less surgical trauma as quantified by objective outcome measures and equivalent or better survival than open surgery. This has firmly established VATS as the surgical approach of choice for early-stage lung cancer today. Although impressive new non-surgical lung cancer therapies have emerged in recent years, VATS is also being constantly rejuvenated by the development of ‘next generation’ VATS techniques, the refinement of VATS sublobar resection for selected patients, the utilization of bespoke post-operative recovery programmes for VATS and the synthesis of VATS into multi-modality lung cancer therapy. There is little doubt that VATS will remain as the gold standard for lung cancer surgery for the foreseeable future.