Objectives/hypothesis: To perform a national review of the incidence and treatment of primary tracheal cancer and to identify gaps in service provision and factors associated with survival.
Study design: Retrospective analysis of Hospital Episode Statistics data for England between 1996 and 2011.
Methods: Information about age, sex, morbidity, provider trust, diagnostic delay, nature of hospital admission and treatment, and palliation-free survival were recorded. The relationship between variables and survival was explored with Cox regression.
Results: There were 874 patients, giving an incidence of 0.9 per million. Mean age at diagnosis was 66 ± 13, and there were 456 (52%) males. Mean presentation to diagnosis latency was 2.5 ± 8 months, and 40% of patients presented as emergency admissions. There were 19 cases of oesophageal involvement and 241 cases of bronchopulmonary involvement; and 188 patients developed distant metastases. There were 60 curative resections (6.9%), which was the most significant predictor of palliation-free survival (hazard ratio: 0.23; 95% confidence interval 0.13-0.38). Other prognostic variables included age, sex, emergency admission, interventional bronchoscopy, chemotherapy, oesophageal involvement, and distant metastases. Ten-year palliation-free survival was 60.8% with curative resection and 19.5% overall. Eighty-six percent of patients were treated in units that treated fewer than one patient per year.
Conclusion: Tracheal cancer is under-recognized and under-treated. Early diagnosis, access to interventional bronchoscopy, and surgical treatment in specialist units may improve the survival of patients with this condition.
Keywords: Tracheal cancer; interventional bronchoscopy; tracheal resection.
© 2013 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.