Research defines timeframes, factors to deem early stage lung cancer cured

Aug 02, 2010
This chart shows annual recurrence rates after resection according to intratumolar vascular invasion. Credit: Journal of Thoracic Oncology

In patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), five-year disease-free survival is currently the benchmark of cure. However, there are two issues that remain with the follow-up standards: (1) When can cure be declared with confidence and (2) for how long should follow-up examination be continued?

In order to define a strategy for long-term follow-up for early stage patients, research published in the August edition of the (JTO) quantified the risk of late recurrence in patients with stage IA NSCLC who remained recurrence-free for more than five years after complete tumor resection. Overall, the findings indicate that in patients with stage IA NSCLC without vascular invasion ( within ), five years may be sufficient to declare that the patients are cured. In contrast, patients with stage IA NSCLC with vascular invasion need follow-up until at least nine years after resection.

In this study, the research team identified a total of 519 patients with stage IA NSCLC who underwent complete resection between August 1992 and December 2002. Recurrence-free probability was measured from the benchmark of five years after primary tumor resection to the date of first recurrence or last follow-up. Of the 519 patients, 434 remained recurrence-free for the first five years. Among these, only 21 (4.8 percent) developed late recurrence more than five years after resection.

The researchers identified one independent significant predictor of late recurrence in stage IA five-year recurrence-free survivors: the presence of vascular invasion. The five-year recurrence-free probability from the benchmark was 84 percent for patients with vascular invasion and 95 percent for patients without vascular invasion.

Summarizing the findings, lead investigator, Ryo Maeda, MD, explains that "If they are recurrence-free, patients without vascular invasion may be declared cured at five years after resection. On the other hand, patients with stage IA NSCLC with vascular invasion, five years without recurrence is not sufficient to conclude that NSCLC is cured."

Explore further: Study reveals a cause of poorer outcomes for African-American patients with breast cancer

Related Stories

A new molecular marker of gastric cancer

Mar 30, 2009

Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most common malignancies in the world with a high incidence and death rate. TNM staging system is used worldwide to predict prognosis and direct therapeutic decisions of patients with GC. ...

Recommended for you

DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

Apr 17, 2015

Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimise treatment when tumour tissue is not available, an international group of researchers ...

Tumors prefer the easy way out

Apr 17, 2015

Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.