The number of oncogeriatric patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is expected to increase in the next decades.
We used the French Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery database Epithor that includes information on > 140,000 procedures from 98 institutions. We prospectively collected data from January 2004 to December 2008 on 1,969 patients aged ≥ 70 years with NSCLC stage I or II and matched them with 1,969 control subjects aged < 70 years for sex, American Society of Anesthesia score, performance status, and FEV1. Surgical treatment and postoperative outcomes were compared between the two age groups.
The absence of radical lymphadenectomy was more frequent in the older patients (14%, n = 269) than in the younger patients (9%, n = 170) (P < .0001). There was no significant difference in type of resection between older and younger patients, respectively (pneumonectomy, 8% [n = 164] vs 11% [n = 216]; lobectomy, 79% [n = 1,559] vs 77% [n = 1,521]; bilobectomy, 4% [n = 88] vs 5% [n = 97]; sublobar resection, 7% [n = 143] vs 6% [n = 118]; P = .08). Differences in number (P = .07) and severity (P = .69) of complications were not significant. Postoperative mortality was higher in elderly patients at every end point (30-day mortality, 3.6% [n = 70] vs 2.2% [n = 43] [P = .01]; 60-day mortality, 4.1% [n = 80] vs 2.4% [n = 47] [P = .003]; 90-day mortality, 4.7% [n = 93] vs 2.5% [n = 50] [P = .0002]).
Elderly patients with NSCLC should not be denied pulmonary resection on the basis of chronologic age alone. Among patients aged ≥ 70 years, 90-day mortality compared acceptably with mortality among younger matched patients. Additionally, the data show that for older patients, a 90-day mortality better represents their real mortality risk than 30- or 60-day figures. Our contemporary, multiinstitutional data importantly reveal that elderly patients, compared with their younger counterparts, do not have increased morbidity, incidence, or severity after pulmonary resection.