Background: Although lobectomy is the standard treatment for stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), recent studies have suggested that limited resection may be a viable alternative for small-sized tumors. The objective of this study was to compare survival after lobectomy and limited resection among patients with stage IA tumors≤1 cm by using a large, US-based cancer registry.
Methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry, we identified 2,090 patients with stage I NSCLC≤1 cm in size who underwent lobectomy or limited resection (segmentectomy or wedge resection). We used propensity score analysis to adjust for potential differences in the baseline characteristics of patients in the two treatment groups. Overall and lung cancer-specific survival rates of patients undergoing lobectomy vs limited resection were compared in stratified and adjusted analyses, controlling for propensity scores.
Results: Overall, 688 (33%) patients underwent limited resection. For the entire cohort, we were not able to identify a difference in outcomes among patients treated with lobectomy vs limited resection, as demonstrated by an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for overall survival (1.12; 95% CI, 0.93-1.35) and lung cancer-specific survival (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 0.95-1.61). Similarly, when the cohort was divided into propensity score quintiles, we did not find a difference in survival rate between the two groups.
Conclusions: Limited resection and lobectomy may lead to equivalent survival rates among patients with stage I NSCLC tumors≤1 cm in size. If confirmed in prospective studies, limited resection may be preferable for the treatment of small tumors because it may be associated with fewer complications and better postoperative lung function.