Background: Recurrence after complete resection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is often observed. However, its influence on the prognosis of patients with recurrence is still unclear.
Patients and methods: Of 468 consecutive patients with NSCLC undergoing complete resection during 10 years, 118 experienced recurrence at distant organs. In such patients, the influence of the following variables on post-recurrent survival was analyzed; sex, age at recurrence, disease-free interval, cell type, pathological (p-) stage at operation, adjuvant therapy (thoracic radiation and/or chemotherapy), site of recurrence, and treatment against recurrence. To identify independent factors, multivariate analysis was performed for variables which were considered to be influential in univariate analysis.
Results: Mean post-recurrent survival time was 418 days, and survival rate at 2-years was 15.7%. Multivariate analysis revealed that female, early p-stage, younger age at recurrence, metastasectomy and intra-pulmonary metastasis were the significant favorable factors in patients with distant metastases. Adjuvant therapy and bone metastasis were marginally significant unfavorable factors. Chemotherapy for recurrence tended to prolong survival. Length of disease-free survival and post-recurrent survival exhibited a positive relationship with p-stage. Seven out of 16 patients who underwent metastasectomy survived more than 1000 days after recurrence.
Conclusions: Patients even with recurrence in distant organs could expect for long survival if they are in the early p-stage of primary cancer or a resectable recurrent disease.