Background: An increased risk of second primary cancers has been reported in patients who survive small-cell carcinoma of the lung. The treatment's contribution to the development of second cancers is difficult to assess, in part because the number of long-term survivors seen at any one institution is small. We designed a multi-institution study to investigate the risk among survivors of developing second primary cancers other than small-cell lung carcinoma. Methods: Demographic, smoking, and treatment information were obtained from the medical records of 611 patients who had been cancer free for more than 2 years after therapy for histologically proven small-cell lung cancer, and personyears of follow-up were cumulated. Population-based rates of cancer incidence and mortality were used to estimate the expected number of cancers or deaths. The actuarial risk of second cancers was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Relative to the general population, the risk of all second cancers among these patients (mostly non-small-cell cancers of the lung) was increased 3.5-fold. Second lung cancer risk was increased 13-fold among those who received chest irradiation in comparison to a sevenfold increase among nonirradiated patients. It was higher in those who continued smoking, with evidence of an interaction between chest irradiation and continued smoking (relative risk = 21). Patients treated with various forms of combination chemotherapy had comparable increases in risk (9.4- to 13-fold, overall), except for a 19- fold risk increase among those treated with alkylating agents who continued smoking. Implications: Because of their substantially increased risk, survivors should stop smoking and may consider entering trials of secondary chemoprevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research