Clinicopathological characteristics, survival outcomes and prognostic factors in pleomorphic carcinoma: a SEER population-based study

BMC Pulm Med. 2022 Mar 31;22(1):116. doi: 10.1186/s12890-022-01915-1.


Background: Pulmonary pleomorphic carcinoma (PPC) is a rare tumor, and it usually has an aggressive clinical course and poor prognosis. We aim to analyze the clinicopathological features, management and prognostic factors of pulmonary pleomorphic carcinoma.

Patients and methods: Using the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER) database, we identified 461 patients of pulmonary pleomorphic carcinoma from 2004 to 2014 including clinicopathological characteristics, treatment modalities and outcome data.

Results: The mean age of all PPC patients was 66 years and 58% of the patients were male. Most patients (80%) were white people, 53% were found in the right lung, and lesions were mostly observed in upper lobe (56%). The median overall survival was 9 months and overall 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rate was 45%, 29%, 23%. In Kaplan-Meier analysis, age, marital status, tumor primary site, gender, laterality, SEER summary stage, chemotherapy and surgery were associated with overall survival. Patients received surgery or chemotherapy had a better OS for patients with PPC. Multivariate Cox analysis revealed that SEER summary stage, age, surgery and chemotherapy were found to be independently associated with the OS. Surgery could significantly prolong survival in patients with localized stage and regional stage (HR = 0.120, 95% CI 0.038-0.383, p < 0.001; HR = 0.351, 95% CI 0.212-0.582, p < 0.001) while it did not have great impact on survival in patients with distant stage (p = 0.192). Chemotherapy decreased risk of death by 46% (HR = 0.544, 95% CI 0.393-0.752, p < 0.001) for patients with distant stage, whereas chemotherapy did not confer survival benefits to patients with localized stage and regional stage. But radiation did not have great impact on survival of patients with different stages in this study.

Conclusions: PPC mostly occurred in white people, with a median age of 66 years, and men were more susceptible to this disease. The SEER summary stage, age, surgery and chemotherapy were independently associated with prognosis. Surgery should be considered for the PPC patients with localized stage or regional stage, and chemotherapy should be recommended for the treatment of patients with distant stage.

Keywords: Clinicopathological characteristics; Pleomorphic carcinoma; SEER database; Treatment and outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • SEER Program