Trends in the incidence, treatment, and survival of patients with lung cancer in the last four decades

Cancer Manag Res. 2019 Jan 21:11:943-953. doi: 10.2147/CMAR.S187317. eCollection 2019.


Purpose: This study used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data to investigate the changes in incidence, treatment, and survival of lung cancer from 1973 to 2015.

Patients and methods: The clinical and epidemiological data of patients with lung cancer were obtained from the SEER database. Joinpoint regression models were used to estimate the rate changes in lung cancer related to incidence, treatment, and survival.

Results: From 1973 to 2015, the average incidence of lung cancer was 59.0/100,000 person-years. The incidence increased initially, reached a peak in 1992, and then gradually decreased. A higher incidence rate was observed in males than in females and in black patients than in other racial groups. Since 1985, adenocarcinoma became the most prevalent histopathological type. The surgical rate for lung cancer was about 25%, and treatment with chemotherapy showed an increasing trend, while the radiotherapy rate was in downward trend. The surgical rate for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was higher than that for small cell lung cancer (SCLC), while chemotherapy for SCLC far exceeded that for NSCLC. Treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy for advanced stage had higher rate than early stage. The 5-year relative survival rate of lung cancer increased with time, but <21%.

Conclusion: In the past four decades, the lung cancer incidence increased initially and then gradually decreased. Surgical rate experienced a fluctuant reduction, while the chemotherapy rate was in upward trend. The 5-year relative survival rate increased with years, but was still low.

Keywords: SEER database; incidence; lung cancer; survival; treatment.