Background: Surgical resection is currently standard treatment in early stage lung cancer. The aim of the present study was to identify stage-related factors and patient characteristics influencing survival after complete resection.
Methods: We identified 395 patients with non-small cell lung cancer who had undergone potentially radical operation during 1987 to 1999 at one thoracic surgery institution in central Sweden. Factors independently related to survival were identified in a multivariate analysis. Survival was analyzed in low-, medium-, and high-risk groups based on a risk score calculated from relative hazards for identified risk factors.
Results: Overall 5-year survival among the 395 patients was 51%. The strongest factor predicting prognosis was positive lymph nodes at operation. Higher age, earlier period for operation, impaired lung function, current smoking, and major operative complication were all related to poorer prognosis. Patients with tumor stage Ia had a 5-year survival of 69%, compared to 73% in patients in the low-risk group.
Conclusions: Tumor stage is the best prognostic indicator after radical operation. Inclusion of other tumor- and patient-related variables did not add prognostic information of clinical relevance beyond that provided by tumor stage alone.