Background. Patients who present with early stage non-small cell lung cancer and are poor candidates for lobar resection may be offered sublobar resection (commonly wedge) or stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). However, comparing the relative effectiveness of these techniques is difficult because of differences in patient selection. We performed a propensity-matched analysis to compare the different treatment modalities. We compared the overall recurrence, overall survival, disease-free survival, and recurrence-free survival between treatment groups.
Methods. A prospectively collected database was reviewed for patients who underwent a wedge resection, a wedge plus brachytherapy, or SBRT for clinical stage IA non-small cell lung cancer from 2001 to 2012. Patients who underwent SBRT were further assessed to confirm operability. Univariate and Cox regression multivariate analysis were performed for predictors of a composite end point of recurrence and mortality.
Results. There were 164 patients identified, from which 99 were matched by age, sex, and histology. There were 61 women (62%) and 38 men (38%) with a median age of 73 years. Thirty-eight patients underwent a wedge Resection only, 38 patients underwent a wedge with brachytherapy, and 23 patients had SBRT. Median follow-up was 35 months. Overall recurrence (local and distant) was significantly higher after SBRT (wedge, 9%; SBRT, 30%; p [ 0.016). Although recurrence-free 3 yearm survival was significantly better after wedge resection (88% versus 72%; p [ 0.001), there was no difference between the two groups in disease-free 3-year survival (77% versus 59%; p [ 0.066). Multivariate regression analysis identified male sex and SBRT as significant predictors for mortality and recurrence.
Conclusions. Patients with clinical stage IA non-small cell lung cancer treated by SBRT appear to have higher overall disease recurrence than those treated by wedge resection. However, there was no significant difference in disease-free survival. A randomized trial is needed to define the role of SBRT in the potentially operable patient.