Trends in stage distribution for patients with non-small cell lung cancer: a National Cancer Database survey

J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Jan;5(1):29-33. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181c5920c.


Introduction: We examined the recent changes in stage distribution in newly diagnosed patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using a national database to assess the impact of recent advances in imaging modalities.

Methods: We searched the National Cancer Database for patients with NSCLC diagnosed between the calendar years 1998 and 2006 for which staging information was available.

Results: Among the 877,518 patients diagnosed with NSCLC during the study period, staging information was available for 813,302 patients (92.6%). We observed a change in stage distribution between the years 2000 and 2001, with a decrease in stage I, from 27.5 to 24.8%, and a corresponding increase in stage IV, from 35.4 to 38.8%. No significant changes in stage distribution were noted after 2002.

Conclusion: Our study showed a recent and significant stage migration in patients with NSCLC. It is likely that increased acceptance and widespread use of (18)fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography scan and routine brain imaging could account for these changes.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prognosis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult


  • Radiopharmaceuticals