Moving The Needle in Lung Cancer Management With Robotic-Assisted Surgery


Richard Lazzaro, MD, discusses how a robot-assisted platform has impacted his thoracic surgery and highlights other potential advancements in the field.

The robotic-assisted biopsy platform Ion is a “game-changer” for patients with lung cancer, as it provides a quicker, less invasive surgical method for conducting a lung biopsy, according to Richard Lazzaro, MD.

In a conversation with CancerNetwork, Lazzaro, the chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Southern Region of RWJBarnabas Health, spoke about his experience with adopting the Ion robotic bronchoscopy platform for the early detection of lung cancer at Monmouth Medical Center. He highlighted how the tool may enable practices to acquire tissue and perform disease staging with fewer complications, which may particularly benefit those who plan to undergo induction chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

In terms of other potential advancements in the lung cancer surgery field, Lazzaro discussed how he anticipates the use of video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) surgery to evolve. Specifically, he mentioned the development of technologies such as augmented reality as tools that may help minimize the variability of surgical procedures.

Regarding his practice, Lazzaro highlighted how a multidisciplinary thoracic tumor board—including medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and pulmonary physicians, among others—has helped in producing long-term survival improvements. He emphasized collective discussions and shared decision-making as part of determining appropriate courses of care for his patients. When it comes to a multidisciplinary approach, Lazzaro stated that “you want to take care of patients” like they were part of “your family.”

Overall, Lazzaro noted how the lung cancer treatment landscape has changed over time. He emphasized referring patients for CT scans as well as evaluations at nodule or thoracic oncology clinics as part of a multidisciplinary strategy.

“The management of lung cancer is different than it was even 5 years ago. If we can detect lung cancer early, we have options for treating patients today that we never had before,” Lazzaro said. “This is the time where we really need to make a huge difference in lung cancer.”


Latest most advanced treatments for lung cancer now available at Monmouth Medical Center. News release. RWJBarnabas Health. January 22, 2024. Accessed April 17, 2024.

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