Objective: Resection is the treatment of choice for patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Stage I non-small cell lung cancer has been further subdivided into IA (T1N0M0, tumor size < or = 3 cm without visceral pleural invasion) and IB (T2N0M0, tumor size > 3 cm or any size with visceral pleural invasion). The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic factors in patients with resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer with a diameter of 3 cm or less.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the clinicopathologic characteristics of 445 patients with resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer with a diameter of 3 cm or less who were treated at Taipei Veterans General Hospital between 1980 and 2000. Disease-free survival, overall survival, and their predictors were analyzed.
Results: The 5- and 10-year overall survivals were 61.4% and 40.0%, respectively. The 5- and 10-year disease-free survivals were 74.5% and 73.4%, respectively. Tumor size, smoking index, and number of mediastinal lymph nodes dissected were significant predictors for both disease-free survival (P = .009, P = .002, and P = .006, respectively) and overall survival (P = .004, P < .001, and P = .001, respectively) in multivariate analyses. Visceral pleural invasion did not influence overall survival or disease-free survival.
Conclusions: Tumor size, smoking index, and number of mediastinal lymph nodes dissected were prognostic factors for both overall survival and disease-free survival in resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer with a diameter of 3 cm or less. Small tumors (<3 cm) of stage IB (T2N0M0) non-small cell lung cancer with visceral pleural invasion should be treated as T1 disease and not T2 disease.