Objective: In patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with chemotherapy, we compared survival in patients with treated central airway obstruction to those who did not have central airway obstruction.
Methods: One hundred forty-four patients with advanced and inoperable NSCLC were included. These consisted of 52 consecutive patients treated with therapeutic bronchoscopy plus chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy (group A) and 92 consecutive patients who did not have central airway obstruction treated with chemotherapy alone (group B). Chemotherapy consisted of cisplatin or carboplatin, and one third-generation chemotherapy agent.
Results: There was no significant difference in the survival of patients with and without central airway obstruction (p = 0.395). There was no influence of the histologic subtype on survival in both groups combined and also in each group separately. Median survival in patients belonging to group A was 8.4 months and those in group B was 8.2 months; 3-, 6-, and 12-month survival rates in patients in group A were 90%, 71%, and 40%, respectively, and those in group B were 82%, 63%, and 34%.
Conclusion: Patients having advanced NSCLC with locally treated malignant central airway obstruction in combination with chemotherapy do not have a worse survival compared to those with advanced NSCLC without central airway obstruction. Therapeutic bronchoscopy should be offered to patients with NSCLC and central airway obstruction.