Objective: To investigate the prognostic significance of location and extent of lymph node metastasis in resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and to weigh up the influence of treatment modalities on survival. Patients and method: On exploratory analysis, patients were grouped according to location and time of diagnosis of nodal metastasis: group I, pN2-disease in the aortopulmonary region (N=14); group II, pN2-disease at other level (N=30); group III, cN2-disease with response to induction treatment (ypN0; N=21); group IV, cN2-disease without response to induction treatment (ypN1-2; N=27); group V, pN1-disease (N=66). Results: From 1999 to 2005, 158 patients (median age: 64 years) with node-positive NSCLC were treated at our institution either by neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy plus surgery or by surgery plus adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or both). Operative mortality and major morbidity rates were 2% and 15%. Five-year survival rates were 19% for group I, 12% for group II, 66% for group III, 15% for group IV, and 29% for group V (P<.05). On multivariate analysis, time of N+-diagnosis, extent of nodal involvement and therapy approach were significantly linked to prognosis. Conclusion: The survival of patients with node-positive NSCLC does not depend on anatomical location of nodal disease, but strongly correlates to extent of nodal metastases and treatment modality. Combined therapy approaches including chemotherapy and surgery may improve long-term survival.