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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Sep;94(3):889-93. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.01.015. Epub 2012 Mar 17.

Surgical resection should be considered for stage I and II small cell carcinoma of the lung.

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1
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA. wekslerb@upmc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is rarely treated with resection, either alone or combined with other modalities. This study evaluated the role of surgical resection in the treatment of stage I and II SCLC.

METHODS:

We queried the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database for patients from 1988 to 2007 with SCLC. Survival was determined by Kaplan-Meier analysis and compared using the log-rank test. A Cox proportional hazard model identified relevant survival variables.

RESULTS:

We identified 3,566 patients with stage I or II SCLC. Lung resection was performed in 895 (25.1%), wedge resection in 251 (28.0%), lobectomy or pneumonectomy in 637 (71.2%), and lung resection not otherwise specified in 7 (0.78%). Median survival was 34.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 29.0 to 39.0 months) vs 16.0 months (95% CI, 15.3 to 16.7; p<0.001) in nonsurgical patients. Median survival after lobectomy or pneumonectomy was 39.0 months (95% CI, 30.7 to 40.3) and significantly longer than after wedge resection (28.0 months; 95% CI, 23.2 to 32.8; p=0.001). However, survival after wedge resection was still significantly longer than survival in nonsurgical patients (p<0.001). Sex (p=0.013), age, stage at diagnosis, radiotherapy, and operation (all p<0.001) significantly affected survival. In the surgical patients, sex (p=0.001), age (p<0.001), final stage (p<0.001), and type of resection (p=0.01) were important determinants of survival.

CONCLUSIONS:

Surgical resection as a component of treatment for stage I or II SCLC is associated with significantly improved survival and should be considered in the management of early-stage SCLC.

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