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Ann Thorac Surg. 2000 Mar;69(3):913-8.

Age does not influence early and late tumor-related outcome for bronchogenic carcinoma.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Institute for Anesthesiology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.



The influence of age on early and late outcome after surgical resection of bronchogenic carcinoma is unknown. In an attempt to clarify this issue, we reviewed the outcome of 212 consecutive patients with primary lung cancer who had surgical treatment for bronchogenic carcinoma.


Ninety-two patients were younger than 50 years (group 1), and 120 patients were older than 70 years of age (group 2). Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma were the most common histologic types in both groups. According to the new international staging classification, a similar proportion of stage I, II, and III were observed in both groups.


Only the rate of pneumonectomy was significantly higher in younger patients (41% versus 22%, p = 0.002). The overall operative mortality rate in group 1 was 2.2% and 2.6% after pneumonectomy. In group 2 the overall mortality rate was 2.5% and 3.8% after pneumonectomy. Advanced age did not affect operative mortality. The adjusted (tumor-related) survival rate at 5 years was 56% in group 1 and 53% in group 2 (p = 0.93). The adjusted survival rate for patients with stage I was 61% in group 1 and 65% in group 2 (p = 0.21), and for stage IIIa 39% in group 1 and 48% in group 2 (p = 0.43). The adjusted 5-year survival rate was 56% in group 1 and 59% in group 2 for squamous cell carcinoma (p = 0.53) and 49% in group 1 and 42% in group 2 for adenocarcinoma (p = 0.76).


Perioperative risk and midterm survival were similar in younger and older patients after surgical resection of bronchogenic carcinoma. We believe that this result is because surgical candidates constitute already a highly selected group of patients. From these data it is not possible to conclude that biologic behavior of lung cancer is more aggressive in younger patients.

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