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Br J Cancer. 1998 Jun;77(11):2053-7.

Divergent changes in survival for histological types of non-small-cell lung cancer in the southeastern area of The Netherlands since 1975.

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Comprehensive Cancer Centre South, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


We studied the incidence and survival rates for the histological subtypes of non-small-cell lung cancer, using data from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry over the period 1975-94. The proportions with adenocarcinoma and large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma increased from 11% to 21% and from 11% to 15%, respectively, while those with squamous cell carcinoma decreased from 78% to 62%. The increase in the proportion with adenocarcinoma was only found among men. Although the overall prognosis for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer has remained unchanged, there have been divergent changes between morphological subtypes. Relative 1- and 5-year survival rates for squamous cell carcinoma have improved slightly from 48% to 51% and from 14% to 16%, respectively, because of an increase in the proportion with localized tumours, while relative 1- and 5-year survival rates for adenocarcinoma have decreased from 59% to 45% and from 28% to 18%, respectively, because of a decrease in localized tumours. The proportion with localized tumours and the relative 1-year survival for large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma (about 18% and 30% respectively) were markedly lower. The divergent trends could partly be explained by changes in the histological classification of tumours, but changes in patterns of risk and biological behaviour of adenocarcinoma cannot be excluded.

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