Pulmonary emphysema is a frequent comorbidity in lung cancer, but its role in tumor prognosis remains obscure. Our aim was to evaluate the impact of the regional emphysema score (RES) on a patient's overall survival, quality of life (QOL), and recovery of pulmonary function in stage I to II lung cancer.Methods:
Between 1997 and 2009, a total of 1073 patients were identified and divided into two surgical groups—cancer in the emphysematous (group 1 [n = 565]) and nonemphysematous (group 2 [n = 435]) regions—and one nonsurgical group (group 3 [n = 73]). RES was derived from the emphysematous region and categorized as mild (≤5%), moderate (6%–24%), or severe (25%–60%).Results:
In group 1, patients with a moderate or severe RES experienced slight decreases in postoperative forced expiratory volume in 1 second, but increases in the ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 second to forced vital capacity compared with those with a mild RES (p < 0.01); however, this correlation was not observed in group 2. Posttreatment QOL was lower in patients with higher RESs in all groups, mainly owing to dyspnea (p < 0.05). Cox regression analysis revealed that patients with a higher RES had significantly poorer survival in both surgical groups, with adjusted hazard ratios of 1.41 and 1.43 for a moderate RES and 1.63 and 2.04 for a severe RES, respectively; however, this association was insignificant in the nonsurgical group (adjusted hazard ratio of 0.99 for a moderate or severe RES).Conclusions:
In surgically treated patients with cancer in the emphysematous region, RES is associated with postoperative changes in lung function. RES is also predictive of posttreatment QOL related to dyspnea in early-stage lung cancer. In both surgical groups, RES is an independent predictor of survival.