Introduction: The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of age at diagnosis on prognosis in patients treated with curatively intended radiotherapy for NSCLC.
Material and methods: This is a joint effort among all the Swedish Oncology Departments that includes all identified patients with a diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer that have been subjected to curatively intended irradiation (≥50 Gy) treated during 1990 to 2000. Included patients had a histopathological/cytological diagnosis date as well as a death date or a last follow-up date. The following variables were studied in relation to overall and disease-specific survival: age, gender, histopathology, time period, smoking status, stage and treatment.
Results: The median overall survival of all 1146 included patients was 14.7 months, while the five-year overall survival rate was 9.5%. Younger patients (<55 years), presented with a more advanced clinical stage but had yet a significantly better overall survival compared with patients in the age groups 55-64 years (p = 0.035) and 65-74 years (p = 0.0097) in a multivariate Cox regression analysis. The overall survival of patients aged ≥75 years was comparable to those aged <55 years.
Conclusion: In this large retrospective study we describe that patients younger than 55 years treated with curatively intended radiotherapy for NSCLC have a better overall survival than patients aged 55-64 and 65-74 years and that younger patients seem to benefit more from the addition of surgery and/or chemotherapy to radiotherapy. Due to the exploratory nature of the study, these results should be confirmed in future prospective trials.