Surgical treatment for lung cancer with COPD based on the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD)

A Iwasaki, T Shirakusa, S Enatsu, S Maekawa, Y Yoshida, Y Yoshinaga
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon 2005, 53 (3): 162-7

OBJECTIVE: The surgical indications for non-small cell carcinoma (NSCLC) with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are not well known. A classification of severity in COPD has been newly recommended by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, based on this new system of classification, we review here a series of NSCLC patients with COPD who underwent lung resection at our hospital and attempt to identify the survival and morbidity of such patients.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the patients with NSCLC treated at our hospital between January 1994 and December 2002. Among these 640 patients, a curative approach was attempted in 50 with COPD (31 lobectomies, 11 segmentectomies, 8 bilobectomies). The patients were consequently divided into two groups (moderate group and severe group) according to the Global Iinitiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung disease (GOLD). Lung function was evaluated by FEV1 and FVC, and the survival rates were analyzed at 5 years. Postoperative morbidity was also compared between the two groups.

RESULTS: FEV1 was 1.527 +/- 0.311 L in the moderate group compared with 1.025 +/- 0.224 L in the severe group ( p < 0.001). Postoperative decrease in FEV1 was lower compared to the predicted data of patients who underwent surgery for NSCLC with COPD. Postoperative pulmonary support such as mechanical ventilation or tracheotomy were necessary more frequently in the severe group. A significant difference was observed between the two groups in respiratory support ( p = 0.0102). Overall 5-year survival rate for NSCLC with COPD was 73.9 %, although there was no statistically significant difference between the moderate and severe groups in terms of survival. Lobectomy and segmentectomy show a remarkable advantage for the patients with bilobectomy, although this difference was not statistically significant. On the other hand, gender, degree of COPD, and histological type were shown to be not significant factors. Survival rate of these NSCLC patients with COPD were demonstrated to be comparable to those of the NSCLC patients without COPD in stages I and II.

CONCLUSION: Stringent selection of candidates among NSCLC patients with a severe grade of COPD based on GOLD could be an acceptable and valuable approach compared to conventional patients without COPD, although NSCLC with severe COPD patients more frequently needed respiratory support.

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