Purpose: To identify, in the international staging database of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, those prognostic factors that were significant and independent of clinical stage.
Material and methods: From the data submitted to the staging data base concerning 100,869 patients, cases were selected for which all the following variables were available: clinical stage, age, gender, performance status (PS), and histologic cell types. For non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 12,428 patients were assessable, and for SCLC, 6609 patients were available for this study. Methods used were Cox regression analyses and recursive partitioning and amalgamation analyses.
Results: PS appeared to be a very important prognostic factor for survival in addition to clinical stage. Age and gender were other independent significant variables; For NSCLC and SCLC separately, recursive partitioning and amalgamation allowed the identification of four groups of patients with differing prognoses. In advanced NSCLC (stage IIIB / IV), some routine laboratory tests (mainly white blood cells and hypercalcaemia) were also found to be significant prognostic variables. In SCLC, albumin was an independent biologic prognostic factor.
Conclusion: In addition to stage, PS and, to a lesser extent, age and gender seem to be important prognostic factors for survival in lung cancer. Although this data was obtained from the largest series ever used for such an analysis in lung cancer, these prognostic factors and models require confirmation in the prospective study already planned by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Lung Cancer Staging Project.