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Survival varies widely among people with N1 non-small cell lung cancer. Examining SEER data on 1,682 patients age > 65, who had a median 8 lymph nodes resected between 1992 and 2005, Wisnivesky et al observe that the ratio of positive-to-negative sampled lymph nodes independently predicted survival. Having more than 50% positive LNs foretold a median survival of 21 months; with <= 15% positive LNs, 47 months; and in-between, 37 months (p<0.0001). The relationship persisted after multivariate analysis. Thorax 2011;66:287-293.