Is lung cancer resection indicated in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis?

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008 Nov;136(5):1357-63, 1363.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2008.07.016. Epub 2008 Sep 24.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the implication of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on the surgical treatment for primary lung cancer.

Methods: Between January 1994 and June 2006, 870 patients with primary lung cancer were surgically treated. Fifty-six (6.4%) of 870 patients had complications with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and their data were retrospectively reviewed. There were 50 men and 6 women with an average age of 68 years. The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma was 28 (50.0%). Surgical procedures consisted of 7 wedge resections of the lung, 5 segmentectomies, 43 lobectomies, and 1 bilobectomy.

Results: Surgery-related hospital mortality was higher in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis than in patients without (7.1% vs 1.9%; P = .030). Four (7.1%) of these 56 patients had acute postoperative exacerbation of pulmonary fibrosis and died because of this complication. No factors such as pulmonary function, serologic data, operative data, and histopathologic data were considered predictive risk factors for the acute exacerbation. The postoperative 5-year survival for pathologic stage I lung cancer was 61.6% for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and 83.0% for patients without (P = .019). The causes of late death were the recurrence of cancer or respiratory failure owing to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Conclusions: Although idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis causes high mortality after pulmonary resection for lung cancer and poor long-term survival, long-term survival is possible in patients with these two fatal diseases. Therefore, in selected patients, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may not be a contraindication to pulmonary resection for stage I lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Pneumonectomy* / methods
  • Pneumonectomy* / mortality
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vital Capacity