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The Role of Emphysema on Postoperative Prognosis in Early-Stage Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer.

BACKGROUND: Emphysema is generally considered a poor prognostic factor for patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer; however, whether the poor prognosis is due to highly malignant tumors or emphysema itself remains unclear. This study was designed to determine the prognostic value of emphysema in patients with early-stage nonsmall cell lung cancer.

METHODS: A total of 721 patients with clinical stage IA nonsmall cell lung cancer who underwent complete resection between April 2007 and December 2018 were retrospectively analyzed regarding clinicopathological findings and prognosis related to emphysema.

RESULTS: The emphysematous and normal lung groups comprised 197 and 524 patients, respectively. Compared with the normal lung group, lymphatic invasion (23.9% vs. 14.1%, P = 0.003), vascular invasion (37.6% vs. 17.2%, P < 0.001), and pleural invasion (18.8% vs. 10.9%, P = 0.006) were observed more frequently in the emphysema group. Additionally, the 5-year overall survival rate was lower (77.1% vs. 91.4%, P < 0.001), and the cumulative incidence of other causes of death was higher in the emphysema group (14.0% vs. 3.50%, P < 0.001). Multivariable Cox regression analysis of overall survival revealed that emphysema (vs. normal lung, hazard ratio 2.02, P = 0.0052), age > 70 years (vs. < 70 years, hazard ratio 4.03, P < 0.001), and SUVmax > 1.8 (vs. ≤ 1.8, hazard ratio 2.20, P = 0.0043) were independent prognostic factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Early-stage nonsmall cell lung cancer with emphysema has a tendency for the development of highly malignant tumors. Additionally, emphysema itself may have an impact on poor prognosis.

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