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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2002 Feb;21(2):319-25.

Do women live longer following lung resection for carcinoma?

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  • 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK. christoalexiou@hotmail.com



To determine whether patient gender affects the outlook following lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Prospectively collected data on 833 patients undergoing lung resection for NSCLC between 1990 and 2000 in a single unit were analysed.


581 patients were male (mean age 64.7 +/- 7 years) and 252 were female (mean age 62.6 +/- 7.8 years) (P=0.006). Male patients were more likely to have a history of ischaemic heart disease (P=0.03), to have poorer preoperative spirometry as demonstrated by their % predicted FEV1 (P=0.02) and to need pneumonectomy (P=0.0001) than their female counterparts. Squamous cell carcinoma was the predominant histological cell type in men and adenocarcinoma in women (P<0.0001). There was a trend towards a lower pathological stage among women, but this was not significant. Operative mortality for men was 4.6 and 1.2% for women (P=0.01). Overall 5-year survival for men was 34.2 +/- 2.65% and 47.5 +/ - 4.2% for women (P=0.001) and, for the hospital survivors, was 36.5 +/- 2.7% and 48.1 +/- 4.2%, respectively (P=0.01). On univariate analysis, older age, the need for pneumonectomy and higher pathological stage were significant adverse factors whereas squamous cell type and female gender were significant favourable factors for survival (P<0.05). On Cox proportional hazards model (with and without hospital deaths), pathological stage (P<0.0001), female gender (P=0.0006) and squamous cell type (P=0.001) were independent predictors of survival. The survival was significantly better for women having squamous cell (P=0.01) or non-squamous cell cancers (adenocarcinoma and other) (P=0.002). Regarding the stage, women had a significant survival advantage at pathological stage I (P=0.01) and a relatively better survival at stage II and stage III disease (P=0.3).


This study suggests that female gender exerts a significant positive effect on survival following lung resection for NSCLC. This effect is pronounced at early disease stage and persists after adjusting for important differences in the clinical, histo-pathological features and extent of pulmonary resection between male and female patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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