Objective. This study investigated the clinical aspects of surgically treated elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods. A total of 726 patients including 102 elderly patients 75 or more years of age, who underwent surgery for NSCLC between April 1982 and December 1999 were retrospectively evaluated. Results. The percentage of patients who underwent limited operations or lymph node dissection of level 1 or less was significantly higher among elderly patients than among younger patients (3.5% vs 9.8%; p<0.01, 8.5% vs 20.6%; p<0.01, respectively). The ratios of patients with pathological stage III disease was significantly lower among elderly patients than among younger patients (23.2% vs 12.7%; p<0.05). Postoperative adjuvant therapies were performed for a lower percentage of elderly patients than younger patients (27.1% vs 11.8%; p<0.05). Preoperative and postoperative complications occurred in 57.8% and 40.2% of the elderly patients, respectively. The surgical mortality rate was 3.9% among elderly patients and 1.3% among younger patients, with only a marginal difference. The ratio of non-cancer related death was higher among elderly patients than among younger patients, especially in pathological stage I (27.0% vs 60.0%; p<0.05). The 5-year survival rate of the elderly patients with pathological stage I disease was 69.6% and significantly worse than that of younger patients in the same stage. The analysis of prognostic factors in the elderly group demonstrated that the pathological stage was the only significant factor on both univariate and multivariate analysis. Conclusion. The prognosis of elderly patients was acceptable whereas the percentage of non-cancer-related death was higher. Surgical treatment was considered an effective therapeutic method even in elderly patients.
- Elderly patients
- Non-small cell lung cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine