Background: Patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and limited disease small-cell lung cancer are excluded from concurrent chemoradiation mostly on the basis of comorbidity and age. The purpose of this prospective study was to get insight in what proportion of patients with locally advanced lung cancer would be suitable for concurrent chemoradiation.
Patients and methods: From 2002 to 2005, all patients with a pathological diagnosis of lung cancer and with locally advanced disease in the Maastricht Cancer Registry, the Netherlands, comorbidity were prospectively assessed. Patients were regarded as noneligible for concurrent chemoradiation if they had one or more important comorbidity or were 75 years or older.
Results: In all, 711 patients were included, 577 with NSCLC and 134 with SCLC. Overall, 166 patients (23.3%) were 75 years or older. Of the 526 patients <75 years, comorbidities were as follows: 278 (52.9%) 0, 188 (35.7%) 1, and 56 (11.4%) 2 or more. In all, 408/686 (59%) of the whole patient group were considered as ineligible for concurrent chemoradiation.
Conclusions: More than half of patients with stage III lung cancer were theoretically not eligible for concurrent chemoradiation. Less toxic alternatives are needed for these patients.