THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with early small cell lung cancer who have pulmonary resection surgery with a curative intent have a better median survival rate than those with a palliative procedure, and the surgery has a low morbidity and mortality for those with stage I or II cancer, according to a study published in the May issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Vidhan Chandra, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues analyzed data on 77 patients of the Mayo Clinic who underwent thoracotomy for small cell lung cancer from 1985 to 2002. There were 44 male and 33 female patients with a median age of 65 years, and the procedures performed included wedge excision (30 patients), lobectomy (28 patients) and thoracotomy with biopsy of hilar mass (10 patients). Operative mortality was 2.6 percent and nearly 25 percent of patients had complications, such as atrial arrhythmia.
The patients were followed up for between four days and 170 months with a median of 19 months. Twenty patients were alive at the last follow-up and the overall five-year survival was 27 percent, excluding 10 patients who only underwent biopsy and did not have any further surgery. The five-year survival rate for stage I and stage II cases was 38 percent and for stage III and IV cases was 16 percent.
"Median survival for patients who underwent curative surgery was 25 months compared with 16 months for those who had a palliative procedure. Pulmonary resection in patients with stage I or stage II small cell lung cancer is safe with low mortality and morbidity," the authors conclude.