Background: Few studies have examined the differential impact of sublobar resection (SL) and lobectomy (L) on quality of life (QoL) during the first postoperative year. Methods: We used a prospective cohort of Stage IA lung cancer patients undergoing video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) from the Initiative for Early Lung Cancer Research on Treatment. QoL was measured before surgery, and within 4, 6, and 12 months post-surgery using three validated instruments: SF-12 [physical (PCS) and mental health (MCS)], FACT-LCS (lung-cancer-symptoms), and the PHQ-4 (anxiety and depression subscales). Locally weighted smoothing curve (LOWESS) was fitted to identify the best interval knot for the change in the QoL trend post-surgery. After adjusting for demographic and clinical variables, an adjusted piecewise linear mixed effects model was developed to estimate differences in baseline and 12-month scores, and rates of change for each QoL measure. Results: SL resection was performed in 127 (63.2%) and L in 74 (36.8%) patients. LOWESS plots suggested that the shift of QoL (interval knot) was at 2 months post-surgery. Decreases in PCS scores were less severe for SL than L patients 2 months post-surgery (−0.18 vs. −2.30, P=0.02); while subsequent improvements were observed for both groups (SL: +0.29 vs. L: +0.74, P=0.06). SL patients reported significantly better scores a year post-surgery compared to baseline (P=0.003), while L patients did not. Anxiety decreased at similar rates for both SL and L patients within 2 months post-surgery (P=0.18), then stabilized for the remaining months. MCS and depression scores remained stable in both groups throughout. QoL scores were lower for women than for men, but only significantly worse for the lung-cancer-symptoms (P=0.003) and anxiety (P=0.04). Conclusions: SL patients fared better in physical health and lung cancer symptoms than L patients. The first two postoperative months showed the most significant change which suggests targeting postoperative intervention during that time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3488-3499
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Lung neoplasms
  • Quality of life
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Thoracic surgical procedures
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Video-assisted


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