Background: Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Norway. Surgical excision remains the treatment of choice when a complete resection can be anticipated.
Methods: To evaluate the perioperative mortality and, morbidity rate, as well as long time survival for patients with postoperative stage III and IV non – small cell lung cancer, The Lung Database and electronic records of 43 patients who underwent potentially curative pulmonary resection at the Ullevaal University Hospital, were analyzed retrospectively.
Results: Twentyseven patients had pTNM - stage III A , nine patients stage IIIB and seven patients stage IV. According to international guidelines patients with stage III B or IV disease ought to be considered inoperable, if the correct stage had been known preoperatively. Nine of the patients are alive today. Overall median survival was 362 days (95 % CI: 248 – 476). Using the Kaplan – Meier survival function, the 1 – year survival rate was 56 % and the 3 – year survival rate about 18 %. Patients with stage III A disease survived significantly longer than patients with stage III B or IV disease.The postoperative mortality rate at 30 days was seven percent. Five patients suffered major complications and five patients minor complications related to the surgical procedure.
Conclusion: Too many patients with inoperable lung cancer received surgical treatment. The perioperative mortality- and morbidity rates are low taken into account the stage of the disease and the extent of pulmonary resection. Our study confirms the fact that advanced lung cancer is associated with a low long time survival rate despite surgical intervention.