Background: The increasing incidence of lung cancer among women prompted us to assess whether sex-associated differences exist in the presentation and survival of patients who undergo major lung resection for lung cancer.
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients who had major lung resection for lung cancer from January 1980 to June 1998.
Results: There were 265 men and 186 women. Women were younger (60.7+/-0.8 versus 63.6+/-0.6 years; p = 0.005). Adenocarcinoma was more common among women (48% versus 40%; p = 0.001). Pathologic stages for men were: I = 43%, II = 26%, IIIA = 25%, IIIB or IV = 6%, and for women: I = 52%, II = 20%, IIIA = 22%, IIIB or IV = 6% (p = 0.146). Median survival was better for women (41.8 versus 26.9 months; p = 0.006). This was due both to a difference in stage at presentation and to a better median survival rate for adenocarcinoma compared with squamous cell cancer. The data suggest an association between sex and survival, although this failed to reach statistical significance. Sex influenced survival with a relative risk for women of 0.67 (95% confidence interval 0.35 to 1.29; p = 0.231 adjusted for stage, cell type, age, and spirometry).
Conclusions: There are sex-associated differences in the presentation and possibly in the survival of patients with lung cancer. This finding has possible implications regarding the selection of patients for therapy and for the design of randomized therapeutic trials.