Background The median age at diagnosis of lung cancer is 70 years. However, the evidence guiding the management of octogenarians and older patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is based on data derived from younger patients and may not be appropriate. Methods Patients ≥ 80 years diagnosed with clinical stages I and II NSCLC, between 1988 and 2007, were identified from the SEER database. Patients were classified according to treatments received: no treatment, surgery only, radiation only, and surgery + radiation. Factors associated with survival were assessed using the Cox proportional hazards model. Results There were 1338 cases of early stage NSCLC in octogenarians. Surgery was the most common treatment modality. The median overall survival was 3.8 years for patients who had surgery, compared with 1.6 years, 1.6 years, and 0.9 years for those who received surgery + radiation, radiation alone, and no treatment, respectively (P <.0001). Factors significantly associated with worse overall survival following surgery included increasing age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.08; P =.0005), male gender (HR, 1.33; P =.01), stage II (HR, 2.21; P <.0001), and squamous histology (HR, 1.36; P =.01). Conclusion Surgical resection is associated with long-term survival outcomes in a substantial proportion of octogenarian and older patients with early stage lung cancer and should not be withheld on the basis of age alone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cancer Research