Background: As the US population ages, clinicians are increasingly confronted with octogenarians with resectable non-small cell lung cancer. Earlier reports documented substantial risk for surgical resection in this age group.
Methods: We reviewed our surgical experience in octogenarians who underwent curative resection from 1990 to 2003.
Results: Sixty-one patients underwent resection: 46 lobectomies, 6 segmentectomies, 5 wedge resections, and 4 pneumonectomies. There was one perioperative death (1.6%). The overall complication rate was 38% with a major complication rate of 13%. The average postoperative length of stay was 7 days. Overall 5-year survival was 38%, and 82% for stage IA patients. Patients with more advanced disease had a significantly worse survival.
Conclusions: Appropriately selected octogenarians with early stage disease should be offered anatomic surgical resection for cure. These patients can anticipate a long-term survival, and should not be denied an operation on the basis of age alone.