The aim of this study was to clarify preoperative lung function as a prognostic factor for the long-term survival of, and to discuss the appropriateness of lobectomy for, patients with stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma who have poor preoperative pulmonary function.Methods
The study group consisted of 402 lobectomized patients with stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma treated by complete resection from 1985 to 1997. Preoperative percent forced vital capacity [(forced vital capacity/predicted forced vital capacity) × 100], FEV1% [(forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity) × 100], arterial carbon dioxide tension, and smoking were statistically analyzed as prognostic factors together with other host and tumor biologic factors.Results
Multivariate analysis demonstrated that tumor size (p < 0.0001) was the most significant prognostic factor for survival from primary lung cancer. Age (p < 0.0001), sex (p = 0.0036), and FEV1% (p = 0.0046) were found to be independent prognostic factors for survival from death by nonprimary lung cancer-related causes. Smoking was highly correlated with FEV1% (correlation coefficient = −0.511; p < 0.0001). The 100 patients with a preoperative FEV1% less than 70% included 34 patients with nonprimary lung cancer-related deaths, whereas the 302 patients with an FEV1% of 70% or greater included only 23 patients (p < 0.0001).Conclusions
Along with tumor size, FEV1% is the most significant prognostic factor for patients with stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma with regard to survival from death by other causes. Lobectomy may not be preferred as an appropriate surgical modality for patients with stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma with small peripheral nodules who exhibit poor pulmonary function, especially lowered FEV1%.