[Non-small cell lung cancer: surgical trends as a function of age]

Rev Mal Respir. 2001 Apr;18(2):173-84.
[Article in French]


Most of the studies on lung cancer and age are usually done on very young or very old populations. We conducted a study of the evolution of surgical features over time in a population aged 24 to 89 years. The series included 1,809 men and 287 women (n = 2,096) who had undergone surgery between April 1984 and December 1990 (n = 1,026) and between January 1991 and December 1996 (n = 1,996). Patients were divided into 7 age groups with 2 subgroups for patients with or without prior medical history of cancer. We analyzed the type of surgery and pathology findings by age. Morbidity was recorded according to state of previous cardiovascular disease and long-term survival was analyzed. A significant increase in the number of female patients was noted during the last ten years. Adenocarcinomas were more frequent in young patients. Exploratory interventions, partial tumor resections and lung resections for metastasis were more frequently performed in young patients than in older patients. Excision of mediastinal nodes was less performed often in old patients. In case of curative resection, postoperative pTNM was not modified with age. Morbidity increased with age; mortality was more frequent in the elderly even when comorbidity was taken into account. Mortality was not related significantly with cardiovascular morbidity factors despite an increased frequency of previous cardiovascular disease with age. Survival according to age showed 3 main types of population: patients aged under 64 years, those between 65 and 74, and those over 75 years of age. Mortality increased with time but was less often related to recurrence of lung cancer. Nevertheless, survival for stage III and stage IV patients older than 75 years demonstrated that surgery was not indicated for these patients. This study shows that indications for surgery should not vary with age except for patients over 75 years who have locally advanced cancer and a risk of surgical death greater than the chances of survival. All non-small-cell lung cancers should be resected with no delay, even in the elderly population.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome