. To determine survival of patients with stage IIIA/B non–small cell lung cancer considering disease stage and treatment methods.
Material and methods
. A total of 304 patients with non–small cell lung cancer were treated at the Department of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Vilnius University, in 2000–2004. Stage IIIA (T3N1-2M0) cancer was diagnosed for 193 (63.5%) patients and stage IIIB (T4N0-1M0) cancer was diagnosed for 111 (36.5%) patients. There were 277 (91.1%) males and 27 (8.9%) females. According to morphology, there were 219 (72%) patients with squamous cell lung cancer, 80 (26.3%) with adenocarcinoma, and 5 (1.7%) patients with large cell carcinoma. Surgery was performed in 145 patients: 84 (57.9%) patients underwent lung resection (T3-4N0-1M0), 51 (35.2%) patients – thoracotomy, and 10 (6.7%) patients – other palliative thoracic procedures (mediastinotomy, pleurectomy, mediastinoscopy). Forty-eight (30.2%) patients were treated with radiation therapy with total doses of >40 Gy and 58 (36.5%) patients were treated with radiation therapy with total doses of <40 Gy. Fifty-four (33.9%) patients were treated with Gemzar and cisplatin and 19 (11.9%) patients were treated with etoposide and cisplatin.Results
. Overall median and mean survival was 7.8 months (95% CI, 6.8 to 8.8) and 9.9 months (95% CI, 9.0 to 10.9), respectively. The median and mean survival of patients with stage IIIA cancer was 8.3 months and 10.4 months, respectively, and that of patients with stage IIIB cancer – 6.4 months and 9.0 months, respectively (P
≤0.05). The median survival of the patients with stage IIIA cancer who received a combination of operation, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy with a total dose of >40 Gy was 14.4 months (mean, 14.7 months), and the median survival of those who received operation, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy with a total dose of ≤40 Gy was 9.7 months (mean, 14.1 months); the median survival of the patients who underwent surgery alone was 4.9 months (mean, 6.7 months) (P
=0.004 and P
=0.007), respectively. There was a significant difference in the median survival comparing the patients with stage IIIB cancer who underwent surgery alone and those who received a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy (median survival of 5.0 months [mean, 8.1 months] versus 16.8 months [mean, 17.6 months], respectively; P
. Disease stage had an influence on the survival of patients with non–small cell lung cancer: patients with stage IIIA (T3N0-1M0) cancer without metastases to mediastinal lymph nodes (N factor) survived longer than patients with stage IIIB (T4N1-2M0) cancer, where not only N factor had an impact but T factor as well. Better treatment outcomes, i.e. longer survival, can be achieved when a combination of three treatment types – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy – is applied to patients with stage IIIA or IIIB non–small cell lung cancer. The patients with stage IIIA disease who received surgery and radiation therapy (total dose, >40 Gy), and combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy and second-line chemotherapy showed a significantly longer survival than those who received surgery alone.