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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Apr;93(4):1061-8. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Mar 3.

Results of long-term follow-up of patients with completely resected non-small cell lung cancer.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan.



In patients with completely resected non-small cell lung cancer, recurrence-free survival, postrecurrence survival, and metachronous primary lung cancer have not been well studied at the same time.


A total of 315 patients with non-small cell lung cancer who underwent complete resection between 2001 and 2005 were examined. Patients were routinely assessed with computed tomography of the chest and physical checkups every 4 months for the first 2 years and every 6 months from the third to the fifth year. After that, they were examined annually.


The overall 5-year survival was 70%. Of all 315 patients, 107 had recurrent disease. The median recurrence-free survival was 15.7 months. Multivariate analysis showed that pathologic stage and pleural invasion were associated with decreased recurrence-free survival. The median postrecurrence survival was 18.7 months. Multivariate analysis indicated that male sex, pleural invasion, extrathoracic recurrence, and supportive care for recurrence were associated with decreased postrecurrence survival. The cumulative rate of metachronous primary lung cancer at 5 years was 3.7%, and it developed even 8 years after the initial operation.


Only pleural invasion of the original lung cancer was related to both recurrence-free survival and postrecurrence survival. Moreover, postrecurrence survival was related to both site and treatment of the initial recurrence. The incidence of metachronous primary lung cancer was stable over time after the initial operation.

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