In an attempt to identify clinical features of prognostic value in patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer, we retrospectively reviewed the records and chest roentgenograms of 101 such patients seen at Vanderbilt University Hospital. All patients were treated with combination chemotherapy regimens of comparable efficacy with or without chest radiotherapy and/or surgical resection. Median survival for the 101 patients was 16 months; the three-year actuarial survival was 14%. Elevated serum LDH level at the time of diagnosis was predictive of improved survival by both univariate and multivariate analyses (P <.01). Initial tumor volume (calculated from tumor measurements) on chest roentgenogram and clinical TNM stage were unrelated to survival. Until the prognostic significance of an elevated serum LDH level is confirmed by other investigators, we cannot recommend any modification in the current system for staging small cell lung cancer. Although patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer form a clinically heterogeneous group, they should continue to be treated uniformly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas