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Characteristics and outcomes of patients with unresected early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.



ABSTRACT

Background. This study describes the characteristics, management, and outcomes of patients with unresected early-stage non-small cell lung cancer Lung Cancer, Non-Small Cell Definition

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a disease in which the cells of the lung tissues grow uncontrollably and form tumors.
Description

There are two kinds of lung cancers, primary and secondary.
 (NSCLC NSCLC non (or cancer).
NSCLC Non-small cell lung cancer, see there
).

Methods. A retrospective review retrospective review,
a posttreatment assessment of services on a case-by-case or aggregate basis after the services have been performed.
 was conducted to identify all patients with unresected stage I or stage II NSCLC diagnosed between 1990 and 1998.

Results. Ninety-seven patients were identified who met our criteria. The median age at diagnosis was 68 years; 78% of patients were white, 81% were male, 81% had stage I disease, and 67% had squamous cell carcinoma squamous cell carcinoma
n.
A carcinoma that arises from squamous epithelium and is the most common form of skin cancer. Also called cancroid, epidermoid carcinoma.
. Cancer-specific treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy, was administered to only 27 patients. The median survival time was 22 months for the treated group and 11 months for the untreated group.

Conclusion. The majority of patients with unresected early-stage NSCLC do not receive cancer therapy. They should be thoroughly considered for treatment, however, especially in light of recent advances in surgery and radiation therapy, and the development of more active, less toxic chemotherapeutic agents.

**********

APPROXIMATELY 169,500 AMERICANS were predicted to be diagnosed with lung cancer lung cancer, cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. Like other cancers, lung cancer occurs after repeated insults to the genetic material of the cell.  in 2001, with 157,400 persons dying of that disease. (1) A 5-year survival rate of less than 15%, combined with the high incidence, makes lung cancer the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Different therapeutic modalities are used in the management of lung cancer, depending upon tumor stage tumor stage
n.
The extent of the spread of a malignant tumor from its site of origin.
 and the patient's clinical status.

Surgical resection remains the primary treatment for early stages of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), especially stages I and II. (2-5) Many patients with early stages of NSCLC are not candidates for surgery. Additional patients and physicians decide against surgery because of complicated socioeconomic factors. (6,7) The characteristics and outcomes of patients who do not undergo surgery have not been thoroughly studied, and the management of these patients is not well defined.

This study analyzes the characteristics and outcomes of early-stage lung cancer patients who did not undergo surgical resection, and the impact of other cancer-specific therapy on their outcomes. The possible impact of recent therapeutic developments on the management of these patients is also discussed.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Patient Selection

This study included all patients with stages I and II NSCLC diagnosed between 1991 and 1998 who did not undergo surgical resection of their cancer. These patients were seen at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is part of the University of Arkansas System, a state-run university in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The main campus is located in Little Rock.  and Little Rock Veterans Affairs Hospital.

Study Design

Data were obtained by review of medical records, tumor registry information, pathology reports and slides, and radiology reports. The data collected included patient characteristics, such as age, race, sex, date of diagnosis, tumor site, type of treatment, type of relapse or recurrence, and cause of death. Other cancer data collected included histologic subtype (programming) subtype - If S is a subtype of T then an expression of type S may be used anywhere that one of type T can and an implicit type conversion will be applied to convert it to type T. , tumor size, and primary tumor/regional lymph node/ metastasis metastasis /me·tas·ta·sis/ (me-tas´tah-sis) pl. metas´tases  
1. transfer of disease from one organ or part of the body to another not directly connected with it, due either to transfer of pathogenic microorganisms or to
 (TNM TNM tumor-nodes-metastasis; see under staging.

TNM

tumor, nodes and metastases; a system of cancer staging (see TNM staging).
) stage. Comorbid conditions and the forced expiratory volume forced expiratory volume
n. Abbr. FEV
The maximum volume of air that can be expired from the lungs in a specific time interval when starting from maximum inspiration.
 in 1 second ([FEV FEV forced expiratory volume.

FEV
abbr.
forced expiratory volume



FEV

forced expiratory volume.
.sub.1]) were also included.

Statistical Analysis

Patient demographics and medical characteristics were summarized using descriptive statistics descriptive statistics

see statistics.
. Overall survival-time estimates for each group were obtained using Kaplan-Meier (product-limit) methodology, and distributions of survival time were compared using log-rank tests. P [greater than or equal to] .05 was considered statistically significant. Analyses were done using SAS/ STAT software, Version 7 (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC).

RESULTS

A total of 97 patients were included in this study. Median age of these patients was 68 years (range, 40 to 84 years); 81% were male, and 78% were white (Table). The majority of the patients had stage I disease (81%) and squamous cell carcinoma histology (67%). Tissue diagnosis was obtained by bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy Definition

Bronchoscopy is a procedure in which a cylindrical fiberoptic scope is inserted into the airways. This scope contains a viewing device that allows the visual examination of the lower airways.
 in 74% of the patients, fine needle aspiration fine needle aspiration Diagnostics A method of in which a thin or “skinny”–18- to 23-gauge needle is used to suck in cells or tissue bits for diagnoses; the sites selected for FNAs are often guided by radiologists with fluoroscopy, CT, MRI  in 21%, and sputum sputum /spu·tum/ (spu´tum) [L.] expectoration; matter ejected from the trachea, bronchi, and lungs through the mouth.

sputum cruen´tum  bloody sputum.
 cytology cytology (sītŏl`əjē), in biology, the study of the structure of all normal and abnormal components of cells and the changes, movements, and transformations of such components.  in 5%. Median follow-up was 11 months (range, 1 to 110 months). The reasons patients did not have surgery were poor pulmonary function (n = 71), patient refusal (n = 11), and chronic debilitating de·bil·i·tat·ing
adj.
Causing a loss of strength or energy.


Debilitating
Weakening, or reducing the strength of.

Mentioned in: Stress Reduction
 illness (n = 15). Seventy patients (72%) had no treatment for their cancer. The remaining 27 patients had various cancer-specific treatments, including chemotherapy (n = 12), radiation therapy (n = 2), and combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy (n = 13). The chemotherapy regimens included cisplatin cisplatin /cis·plat·in/ (sis´plat-in) DDP; a platinum coordination complex capable of producing inter- and intrastrand DNA crosslinks; used as an antineoplastic.

cis·plat·in
n.
 and etoposide (n = 12), carboplatin and etoposide (n = 2), carboplatin and paclitaxel paclitaxel /pac·li·tax·el/ (pak?li-tak´sel) an antineoplastic that promotes and stabilizes polymerization of microtubules, isolated from the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia);  (n = 5),and others (n = 6).

No significant difference in age was noted between the 2 groups, with a median age of 67 years (range, 40 to 79 years) for the treated patients and 69 years (range, 43 to 84 years) for untreated patients. There was no significant difference in the [FEV.sub.1] levels between the 2 groups. Median [FEV.sub.1] for the treated group was 1.13 L (range, 0.52 to 2.03 L), compared with 1.25 L (range, 0.45 to 2.73 L) for the untreated cohort.

The patients who received treatment had a median overall survival time of 22 months (range, 3 to 110 months), with 7 patients (26%) alive at the time of analysis. None of the patients in the untreated group were alive at the time of analysis, and their median survival time was 11 months (range, 1 to 43 months) (P = .008) (Figure). The cause of death was cancer related in 86% of the patients, unrelated to cancer in 3%, and unknown in 11%.

DISCUSSION

The lung cancer cure rate is stage dependent, with earlier stages having higher cure rates. This is mainly attributed to the efficacy of surgery in attaining cure in many patients with early-stage disease; however, up to one third of patients with early-stage lung cancer do not have surgery. (6-8) Our study population represents 17% of all patients with stages I and II NSCLC seen at our institutions. Apparently, smoking not only contributes to cancer occurrence, but also leads to other illnesses, including pulmonary dysfunction, that make treating the cancer difficult. The commonly quoted survival rates of early-stage lung cancer are usually exaggerated, due to reporting single-institution experiences on selected patient populations. If all patients with early stage NSCLC were included, the survival rate of patients with early lung cancer would not be as high. (6,9)

The management of patients with unresected stages I and II NSCLC is not well defined. Radiation therapy is the most common modality studied in this setting, with 5-year survival rates ranging from 6% to 40% (10-14) These studies generally include both inoperable inoperable /in·op·er·a·ble/ (in-op´er-ah-b'l) not susceptible to treatment by surgery.

in·op·er·a·ble
adj.
Unsuitable for a surgical procedure.
 and unresectable locally advanced lung cancer, which makes the study group heterogeneous. Furthermore, the denominators are usually missing from these studies; in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, the percentage of patients who did not receive treatment, for whatever reason, is unknown. Our study shows that 1 of 6 patients with stage I or II NSCLC did not have surgery, and almost three fourths of those patients did not receive any therapy at all. While this study does not absolutely prove that all patients with unresected lung cancer will benefit from other cancer-specific treatment, it should at least encourage physicians to thoroughly consider treating these patients. Revisiting the management approach of these patients is warranted for many reasons. First, new surgical techniques, such as video-assisted thoracic surgery Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)
A technique used to aid in the placement of chest tubes or when performing decortications when treating advanced empyema.
, are less traumatic than thoracotomy thoracotomy /tho·ra·cot·o·my/ (-kot´ah-me) pleurotomy; incision of the chest wall.

tho·ra·cot·o·my
n.
Incision into the chest wall. Also called pleurotomy.
. (15-18) Second, the role of volume-reduction surgery in patients with severe emphysema emphysema (ĕmfĭsē`mə), pathological or physiological enlargement or overdistention of the air sacs of the lungs. A major cause of pulmonary insufficiency in chronic cigarette smokers, emphysema is a progressive disease that commonly  warrants evaluating some lung cancer patients for this type of surgery, which could improve their underlying pulmonary disease and cure their cancer. (19,20) Third, improvement in imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography positron emission tomography: see PET scan.
positron emission tomography (PET)

Imaging technique used in diagnosis and biomedical research.
 and 3-dimensional treatment planning, enables physicians to administer higher doses of radiation with more precision, thereby minimizing toxicity to the normal tissues. (21-23) Finally, the development of more effective, less toxic chemotherapeutic agents may make concurrent therapy in these patients more feasible.
TABLE

Patient Characteristics (N = 97)

          Characteristic           No. (%)

Age [greater than or equal to]65   70 (72)
Male sex                           79 (81)
White race                         76 (78)
Stage I                            79 (81)
Histology
  Squamous cell carcinoma          65 (67)
  Adenocarcinoma                   13 (14)
  Large cell carcinoma              5 (5)
  Poorly differentiated carcinoma  13 (14)
  Mixed histology                   1 (1)
Forced expiratory volume in
 1 second ([FEV.sub.1])
  <1 liter                         40 (41)
  1-2 liters                       47 (49)
  >2 liters                        10 (10)


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n.
Squamous cell or oat cell carcinoma that develops in the mucosa of the large bronchi and produces a persistent productive cough or hemoptysis.
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(9.) Van Rens MT, della Riviere ri·vière  
n.
A necklace of precious stones, generally set in one strand.



[French rivière (de diamants), river (of diamonds), from Old French rivere, from Vulgar Latin
 AB, Elbers HR, et al: Prognostic assessment of 2,361 patients who underwent pulmonary resection for non-small cell lung cancer, stage I, II, and IIIA IIIA Internet Information Infrastructure Architecture
IIIA Integrated Intelligence Information Application
IIIA International Imaging Industry Association
. Chest 2000; 117:374-379

(10.) Kaskowitz L, Graham MV, Emami B, et al: Radajation therapy alone for stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1993; 27:517-523

(11.) Graham MV, Purdy JA, Emami B, et al: Preliminary results of a prospective trial using three-dimensional radiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1995; 33:993-1000

(12.) Silby GS, Jamieson TA, Marks LB, et al: Radiotherapy alone for medically inoperable stage I non-small cell lung cancer: the Duke experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1998; 40:149-154

(13.) Bush DA, Slater JD, Bonnet R, et al: Proton-beam radiotherapy for early stage lung cancer. Chest 1999; 116:1313-1319

(14.) Hayakawa K, Mitsuhashi N, Saito Y, et al: Limited field radiation for medically inoperable patients with peripheral stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Lung Cancer 1999; 26:137-142

(15.) McKenna RJ, Wolf RK, Brenner M, et al: Is lobectomy lobectomy /lo·bec·to·my/ (lo-bek´tah-me) excision of a lobe, as of the lung, brain, or liver.

lo·bec·to·my
n.
Excision of a lobe of an organ or a gland.
 by video-assisted thoracic surgery an adequate cancer operation? Ann Thorac Surg 1998; 66:1903-1908

(16.) Kaga K, Park J, Nishiumi N, et al: Usefulness of video-assisted thoracic surgery (two windows method) in the treatment of lung cancer for elderly patients. J Cardiovasc Surg 1999; 40:721-723

(17.) Jaklitsch MT, Bueno R, Swanson SJ, et al: New surgical options for elderly lung cancer patients. Chest 1999; 116(6 suppl):480S-485S

(18.) Sugi K, Kaneda Y, Esato K: Video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy achieves a satisfactory long-term prognosis in patients with clinical stage IA lung cancer. World J Surg 2000; 24:27-30

(19.) McKenna RJ, Fischel RJ, Brenner M, et al: Combined operations for lung volume reduction surgery and lung cancer. Chest 1996; 110:885-888

(20.) DeMeester SR, Patterson GA, Saundareson RS, et al: Lobectomy combined with volume reduction for patients with lung cancer and advanced emphysema. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1998; 115:681-688

(21.) Martel MK, Strawderman M, Hazuka MB, et al: Volume and dose parameters for survival of non-small cell lung cancer. Radiother Oncol 1997; 44:23-29.

(22.) Vanuytsel LJ, Vansteenkiste JF, Stroobant SG, et at: The impact of (18) F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) lymph node staging on radiation treatment volumes in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Radiother Oncol 2000; 55:317-324

(23.) Choi N, Baumann M, Flentji M, et al: Predictive factors in radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer: present status. Lung Cancer 2001; 31:43-56

RELATED ARTICLE: KEY POINTS

* Less than one third of the patients with unresected early lung cancer have cancer-specific treatment.

* Patients who receive treatment have better outcome.

* All patients should be evaluated thoroughly for cancer-specific treatment, especially with recent advances in treatment modalities.

From the Department of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock.

Reprint requests to Abdul Rahman Jazieh, MD, MPH, University of Cincinnati The University of Cincinnati is a coeducational public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ranked as one of America’s top 25 public research universities and in the top 50 of all American research universities,[2]  Medical Center, Barrett Center for Cancer, 234 Goodman Ave, ML 0501, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0501.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Southern Medical Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Jazieh, Abdul R.
Publication:Southern Medical Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Words:2020
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