beside the well known predominance of distant vs. loco-regional relapse, several aspects of the relapse pattern still have not been fully elucidated.
prospective, controlled study on 88 patients operated for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a 15 months period. Stage IIIA existed in 35(39.8%) patients, whilst stages IB, IIA and IIB existed in 10.2%, 4.5% and 45.5% patients respectively. Inclusion criteria: stage I-IIIA, complete resection, systematic lymphadenectomy with at least 6 lymph node groups examined, no neoadjuvant therapy, exact data of all aspects of relapse, exact data about the outcome of the treatment.
postoperative lung cancer relapse occurred in 50(56.8%) patients. Locoregional, distant and both types of relapse occurred in 26%, 70% and 4% patients respectively. Postoperative cancer relapse occurred in 27/35(77.1%) pts. in the stage IIIA and in 21/40(52.55) pts in the stage IIB. In none of four pts. in the stage IIA cancer relapse occurred, unlike 22.22% pts. with relapse in the stage IB. The mean disease free interval in the analysed group was 34.38 ± 3.26 months.
The mean local relapse free and distant relapse free intervals were 55 ± 3.32 and 41.62 ± 3.47 months respectively Among 30 pts. with the relapse onset inside the first 12 month after the lung resection, in 20(66.6%) pts. either T3 tumours or N2 lesions existed. In patients with N0, N1 and N2 lesions, cancer relapse occurred in 30%, 55.6% and 70.8% patients respectively
Radiographic aspect T stage, N stage and extent of resection were found as significant in terms of survival. Related to the relapse occurrence, although radiographic aspect and extent of resection followed the same trend as in the survival analysis, only T stage and N stage were found as significant in the same sense as for survival. On multivariate, only T and N stage were found as significant in terms of survival.
Specific oncological treatment of relapse was possible in 27/50(54%) patients.