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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1996 Aug;112(2):349-55.

Time trends and survival after operations for primary lung cancer from 1976 through 1990.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Kyoto University, Japan.


To assess the time trends and survivals after operations for primary lung cancer, the cases of 845 consecutive patients who underwent thoracotomy between 1976 and 1990 were retrospectively reviewed by groups corresponding to year of the operation (the early period was 1976 to 1980, n = 208; the middle period was 1981 to 1985, n = 291, and the late period was 1986 to 1990, n = 346). The 5-year survivals at the early, the middle, and the late periods were 31.5%, 39.0%, and 54.0%, respectively, with significant improvement particularly at the late period (p < 0.05 for the early period vs the middle period, p < 0.01 for the early or middle period vs the late period); the improvement was caused by increase in the ratio of patients with stage I disease (20.7% at the early period, 32.0% at the middle period, 44.2% at the late period), increase in the rates of complete tumor resection with lymph node dissection (57.2%, 68.0%, 74.3%, respectively), and decrease in the rates of operation-related death (3.8%, 3.4%, 0.9%, respectively). The postoperative prognosis of patients with stage II disease at the late period (5-year survival 74.8%) showed significant improvement compared with the other periods. Moreover, the prognosis of patients with stage IIIa, pN2 disease (5-year survival 41.5%) showed significant improvement, which was caused by the significant decrease in patients with pT3 N2 M0 disease and poor prognosis.

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