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Surgery for combined type small cell lung carcinoma


BACKGROUND Combined type small cell lung cancer (SCLC) has been reported to occur in, at most, 1% of all cases of SCLC. These tumours consist of SCLC with a component of squamous cell carcinoma and/or adenocarcinoma. The survival of patients with combined and pure SCLC after surgical resection was assessed.

METHODS From 1977 to 1994 2115 patients with bronchogenic carcinoma underwent pulmonary resection. From this group 26 patients (1.2%) were diagnosed as having combined SCLC and 74 patients (3.5%) as having pure SCLC.

RESULTS From the 26 patients with combined SCLC (mean age 66.4 years) three were classified as pT1N0M0, eight as pT2N0M0, four as postoperative stage II, and 11 as postoperative stage III. Histological examination showed a component of squamous cell carcinoma in 21 patients. There were 18 (69%) lobectomies, seven (27%) pneumonectomies, and one (4%) segmentectomy. In all patients surgery was thought to be curative. Overall hospital mortality was 4% (n = 1). Cumulative five year survival was 31% for all hospital survivors with combined SCLC postoperative stage I, 50% for those with pT1N0M0, and 25% for those with pT2N0M0 disease. No patients with postoperative stage II and III disease survived for five years. In the 74 patients with pure SCLC hospital mortality was 3% (n = 2); cumulative five year survival was 39% in patients with postoperative stage I disease, 46% for those with pT1N0M0 and 35% for those with pT2N0M0. When compared with pure SCLC, no significant differences in five year survival were evident in patients with postoperative stage I disease.

CONCLUSIONS Surgical resection in patients with combined SCLC postoperative stage I yields a cumulative five year survival of 31% while for those with stage II and III disease there were no survivors at five years. In patients with stage I combined or pure SCLC surgery can offer a long term disease free interval or may even be curative.

  • lung cancer
  • surgery
  • histological subtypes

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