Objective: Bronchogenic malignancy is the number one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women worldwide. National registry-based studies have shown gender disparity in clinicopathologic characteristics and in survival. This study evaluates the risk factors and trends of lung cancer between genders.
Methods: A prospective cohort of consecutive patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who were carefully clinically (all underwent dedicated positron emission tomography scans) and pathologically staged with stage I, II, or III disease underwent homogenous treatment algorithms and were followed up over a period of 7 years. Primary outcomes were 5-year survival and response to neoadjuvant therapy.
Results: There were 1,085 patients (671 men and 414 women). Groups were similar for race, pulmonary function, smoking history, comorbidities, neoadjuvant therapy, histology, and resection rates. Women were younger (p = 0.014), had a higher incidence of adenocarcinoma (p = 0.01), and presented at an earlier pathologic stage (p = 0.01) than men. The overall age-adjusted and stage-adjusted 5-year survival rate favored women (60% vs 50%, respectively; p < 0.001). Women had better stage-specific 5-year survival rates (stage I disease, 69% vs 64%, respectively [p = 0.034]; stage II disease, 60% vs 50%, respectively [p = 0.042]; and stage III disease, 46% vs 37%, respectively [p = 0.024]). Women who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone (n = 76) were more likely to be a complete or partial responder than men (n = 142; p = 0.025).
Conclusions: Despite uniform staging and treatment, the 5-year survival rate of women with stage I to III NSCLC was better than men overall and at each stage. Women are more likely to have adenocarcinoma, to present with earlier stage disease, and to be younger. Interestingly, women respond better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.