Longitudinal quality of life after sublobar resection and stereotactic body radiation therapy for early-stage non–small cell lung cancer

Juan P. Wisnivesky, Jeremy Mudd, Kimberly Stone, Christopher G. Slatore, Raja Flores, Scott Swanson, William Blackstock, Cardinale B. Smith, Mark Chidel, Kenneth Rosenzweig, Claudia Henschke, Jeffrey A. Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many patients with early-stage lung cancer are not candidates for lobectomy because of various factors, with treatment options including sublobar resection or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Limited information exists regarding patient-centered outcomes after these treatments. Methods: Subjects with stage I–IIA non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at high risk for lobectomy who underwent treatment with sublobar resection or SBRT were recruited from five medical centers. Quality of life (QOL) was compared with the Short Form 8 (SF-8) for physical and mental health and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Lung (FACT-L) surveys at baseline (pretreatment) and 7 days, 30 days, 6 months, and 12 months after treatment. Propensity score methods were used to control for confounders. Results: Of 337 subjects enrolled before treatment, 63% received SBRT. Among patients undergoing resection, 89% underwent minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery or robot-assisted resection. Adjusted analyses showed that SBRT-treated patients had both higher physical health SF-8 scores (difference in differences [DID], 6.42; p =.0008) and FACT-L scores (DID, 2.47; p =.004) at 7 days posttreatment. Mental health SF-8 scores were not different at 7 days (p =.06). There were no significant differences in QOL at other time points, and all QOL scores returned to baseline by 12 months for both groups. Conclusions: SBRT is associated with better QOL immediately posttreatment compared with sublobar resection. However, both treatment groups reported similar QOL at later time points, with a return to baseline QOL. These findings suggest that sublobar resection and SBRT have a similar impact on the QOL of patients with early-stage lung cancer deemed ineligible for lobectomy.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • early-stage lung cancer
  • limited resection
  • non–small cell lung cancer
  • quality of life
  • stereotactic body radiation therapy


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