Background: Primary lung cancer accounts for approximately 14% of all new cancers and 28% of cancer deaths in the U.S. Previous reviews have shown limited progress in the management or outcome of this devastating disease.
Methods: Reports described in the current study were 713,043 primary lung malignancies diagnosed between 1985 and 1995 and submitted to the National Cancer Data Base. Demographic, tumor, and treatment patterns for 1995 were compared with those for 1985-1987, 1988-1991, and 1992-1994. Ten-year relative survival rates were presented for selected demographic and histologic groups and 5-year relative survival rates were presented by stage and dominant treatment modalities for major carcinoma histologies.
Results: Previously observed demographic trends were evident, with increasing proportions of patients being older, female, and African American, and more cases reported to be adenocarcinomas. There was a substantial shift toward more complete staging but no change in the distribution of staged cases. Compared with earlier patients, fewer 1995 patients received cancer-directed treatment. More surgical patients underwent lymph node dissection, and radiation treatment was supplemented more often with chemotherapy. The overall 10-year relative survival rate was 7%. The 5-year survival for American Joint Committee on Cancer Stage I surgical patients was >50% for all nonsmall cell histologic groups.
Conclusions: Recent shifts in treatment, although minimal, are consistent with current literature concerning the effectiveness of lung carcinoma treatment. The authors believe that the overall poor survival of lung carcinoma patients points to a continuing need for improved prevention and treatment measures. The comparatively superior survival of Stage I nonsmall cell lung carcinoma surgical patients indicates that a substantial number of patients have the potential to be treated successfully.
Copyright 1999 American Cancer Society.