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J Clin Oncol. 1995 May;13(5):1215-20.

Long-term survival in small-cell lung cancer: posttreatment characteristics in patients surviving 5 to 18+ years--an analysis of 1,714 consecutive patients.

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Department of Oncology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To describe in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) the characteristics of those who survive for > or = 5 years, to identify long-term prognostic factors, to analyze survival data of 5-year survivors, and to study 10-year survival in patients entered before 1981.


A total of 1,714 unselected patients with SCLC were treated with combination chemotherapy in nine consecutive clinical trials from 1973 to 1991. All medical records were reviewed and follow-up data obtained to analyze and compare pretreatment and posttreatment characteristics.


Sixty patients survived longer than 5 years. Late relapses occurred in 15.0% of 5-year survivors and secondary malignancies in 20.0%. Twenty-six patients are still alive and disease-free 5 to 18 years (median, 9.5 years) from initiation of treatment. Extensive-stage disease, performance status (PS) more than 2, liver and bone marrow metastases, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and alkaline phosphatase levels were all negative prognostic factors. The 5-year survival rate was 3.5% (limited-stage disease, 4.8%; extensive-stage disease, 2.3%), and the 10-year survival rate was 1.8% (limited-stage disease, 2.5%; extensive-stage disease, 1.2%).


Long-term survival can be achieved for both stages of SCLC, but without any change in survival rates over the last decade. Long-term survivors continuously seem to have considerable mortality due to late relapses and secondary malignancies, especially tobacco-related cancers and other tobacco-related diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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