Background: Diabetes is a common comorbidity in patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a growing population due to increased LC screening. However, it is unknown if diabetes is associated with less aggressive NSCLC treatment and worse NSCLC outcomes. This study aimed to investigate treatment patterns and outcomes of older patients with Stage I NSCLC and diabetes. Methods: Using national cancer registry data linked to Medicare, we identified patients ≥65 years old with Stage I NSCLC. Patients were categorized as having no diabetes, diabetes without severe complications (DM-c), or diabetes with ≥1 severe complication (DM + c). We used multinomial logistic regression to assess the association of diabetes and NSCLC treatment. The association of diabetes category with NSCLC and non-NSCLC survival was analyzed with Fine-Grey competing-risks regression. Results: In 25,358 patients (75% no diabetes, 12% DM-c and 13% had DM + c), adjusted analyses showed that DM-c and DM + c were associated with increased odds of receiving limited resection rather than lobectomy (odds ratio [OR]: 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07–1.37 and OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.26–1.59, respectively). Competing risk regression showed diabetes was associated with increased risk of non-NSCLC death (DM-c hazard ratio [HR] 1.16, 95% CI: 1.08–1.25, DM + c HR 1.49, 95% CI: 1.40–1.59), but not NSCLC-specific death. Conclusion: This study uncovers critical information on how diabetes is associated with less aggressive early-stage NSCLC care in older patients. This study also confirms that diabetes increases death from non-lung cancer causes and managing comorbidities is crucial to improving outcomes in older early-stage NSCLC survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17969
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Diabetes
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung neoplasms
  • Metabolic disease and cancer
  • Population-based studies


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