Acquire the license to the best health content in the world
Contact Us

Study Compares Late-Stage Lung Cancer Treatments

For many patients, radiation may outperform surgery following chemotherapy

WEDNESDAY, March 21, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- After initial chemotherapy, radiation treatment may be better than surgery for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, a European study finds.

About 80 percent of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancers. Of those, about 30 percent of patients have locally advanced stages IIIA or IIIB.

The new study, published in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, included 579 patients with stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer that had progressed to the point where it could not be completely removed by surgery. The patients had all received three cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy.

Of the patients who responded to the chemotherapy, 165 then received radiation treatment, and 167 had surgery.

The median survival time for patients treated with radiation was 17.5 months, compared to 16.4 months for those who had surgery.

The five-year survival rate was 15.7 percent for those who had surgery compared with 14 percent for those treated with radiation. While the survival rates were similar, radiation was the preferred treatment because of its lower rates of complications and death, the researchers concluded.

"These results are important, because several centers routinely use chemotherapy followed by surgery to treat patients with this stage of disease based on small randomized studies that showed that surgery alone in inferior to chemotherapy and surgery in stage IIIA patients," the study authors wrote.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about non-small cell lung cancer.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, March 20, 2007
Consumer News