Gender differences in non-small-cell lung cancer survival: an analysis of 4,618 patients diagnosed between 1997 and 2002

Ann Thorac Surg. 2004 Jul;78(1):209-15; discussion 215. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2003.11.021.


Background: Gender has been reported as a predictor for nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survival. Most of the reports are limited to selected groups of patients. The magnitude of gender effect on NSCLC survival across disease stage, tumor histology, and therapies needs to be further characterized.

Methods: A cohort of 4,618 patients diagnosed with NSCLC was prospectively enrolled and actively followed. Vital status of each patient was verified through multiple complementary sources. Cox proportional hazards models were developed to compare postdiagnosis survival between genders adjusting for age at diagnosis, tumor histology and grade, stage, pack-years smoked, and treatment received (resection, radiation, or chemotherapy).

Results: There were 2,724 men (59%) and 1,894 women (41%), with a median age at diagnosis of 68 years in men and 66 in women (p < 0.01). More men smoked and were heavier smokers than women. Adenocarcinoma was the most frequent histology in both genders. No difference was found in stage and treatment between genders. The estimated survival in men was 51% (95% CI: 49%, 53%) and 15% (95% CI: 12%, 17%) at one and five years, respectively, and in women was 60% (95% CI: 58%, 62%) and 19% (95% CI: 16%, 22%). Men were at a significantly increased risk of mortality compared to women following a diagnosis of NSCLC (adjusted relative risk: 1.20, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.30), particularly for patients with stage III/IV disease or adenocarcinoma.

Conclusions: Male gender is confirmed to be an independent unfavorable prognostic indicator for NSCLC survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology