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J Thorac Oncol. 2006 Jul;1(6):526-31.

Surgical patterns of care in operable lung carcinoma treated with radiation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. jychang@mdanderson.org



To determine the national surgical practice patterns of care for operable lung cancer patients treated with radiation.


A nationwide survey of a stratified random sample of institutions was conducted for patients who had non-metastatic lung cancer, Karnofsky Performance Scores (KPS) > or =60, and who had received radiation therapy as definitive or adjuvant treatment. Among 541 patients, representing a weighted sample size of 42,335 patients nationwide, 131 (19.8%) underwent surgery as part of their therapy. Pearson chi statistics were used to analyze characteristics of this subset of patients.


Of the 131 patients who underwent surgery, 126 patients who had non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were analyzed. Surgical patients were younger, had less weight loss, higher KPS, and higher forced expiratory volume within 1 second (FEV1) values than those treated without surgery. Surgical patients had more stage I/II (53.5% vs 32.2%; p = 0.0004) and less clinical N2/N3 disease (28.8% vs 47.5%; p = 0.002) than nonsurgical patients. Surgery consisted of lobectomy or bilobectomy in 63.2% of patients, pneumonectomy in 23.5%, and wedge resection in 5.9%. Of the patients, 80.4% received radiation in the adjuvant setting and 9.9% in the neoadjuvant setting.


Patients with non-metastatic lung cancer who are treated surgically and with radiation have clinically less advanced disease than those treated with radiation alone. Most radiation therapy in this setting is administrated postoperatively and secondary to hilar and/or mediastinal nodal involvement undetected before surgery. Improved preoperative nodal staging and neoadjuvant approaches may alter these practice patterns.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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