Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Patients After Completion of Treatment

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The functional status of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is often limited not only by cancer itself, but also by the different types of treatment and by comorbidities [eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure]. The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of an inpatient multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program on pulmonary function and exercise capacity of patients with NSCLC after completion of their treatment.


Forty-seven patients with NSCLC underwent a PR program after completing cancer treatment. Pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gases, 6-minute walk test, and dyspnea severity before and after PR were retrospectively analyzed.


After undergoing PR, patients exhibited significantly higher forced expiratory volume in the first second (mean increase, 110±240 mL; P=0.007), forced vital capacity (mean increase, 130±290 mL; P=0.001), and 6-minute walk test distance (mean increase, 41 m; P<0.001). A statistically significant improvement in the severity of dyspnea (mean decrease in the Modified Medical Research Council dyspnea scale: 0.26±0.61; P=0.007) was observed. We observed that improvement in pulmonary function and exercise capacity was similar among patients with and without COPD and among patients who underwent thoracic surgery or not.


Patients with NSCLC who could accomplish PR program, after multidisciplinary treatment for the main disease, seem to benefit in terms of exercise capacity and pulmonary function. These benefits are independent of concurrent COPD and surgical treatment for lung cancer.

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