Introduction: This retrospective study was designed to identify the predictors of long-term survival and the risk factors for complications after surgery in patients aged 80 years or older with clinical (c)-stage I non-small cell lung cancer.
Methods: The Japanese Joint Committee of Lung Cancer Registry collated the clinicopathological profiles and outcomes of 13,344 patients who underwent pulmonary resection for primary lung cancer in 1999. The data of 367 patients aged 80 years or older with c-stage I non-small cell lung cancer were analyzed for prognostic factors and risk factors for postoperative complications.
Results: The median age was 82 years (range, 80-90 years). Of the total patient number, 102 (27.8%) had some form of comorbidity diagnosed preoperatively. Thirty-one (8.4%) patients presented with postoperative complications, and the operative mortality was 1.4%. The 5-year survival rates were 55.7% for c-stage I patients, 62.0% for c-stage IA, and 47.2% for c-stage IB. Advanced pathologic stage and comorbidity were significant independent predictors of shortened survival (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.032, respectively). Comorbidity and mediastinal lymph node dissection were identified as factors that increased the risk of postoperative complications (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.036, respectively). Survival rates were independent of the extent of pulmonary resection (lobectomy or limited resection).
Conclusions: Octogenarian patients with c-stage I lung cancer in this study had a satisfactory long-term outcome and low-mortality rate. Comorbidity is a factor associated with both prognosis and operative risks. A selection of the patients who would be curable without mediastinal lymph node dissection after an accurate preoperative staging is beneficial to decrease the postoperative complications because this procedure is a risk factor.