Introduction: We aimed to compare outcomes of patients with first primary clinical T1a-bN0M0 NSCLC treated with surgery or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Methods: We identified patients with first primary clinical T1a-bN0M0 NSCLCs on last pretreatment computed tomography treated by surgery or SBRT in the following two prospective cohorts: International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) and Initiative for Early Lung Cancer Research on Treatment (IELCART). Lung cancer-specific survival and all-cause survival after diagnosis were compared using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Propensity score matching was used to balance baseline demographics and comorbidities and analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: Of 1115 patients with NSCLC, 1003 had surgery and 112 had SBRT; 525 in I-ELCAP in 1992 to 2021 and 590 in IELCART in 2016 to 2021. Median follow-up was 57.6 months. Ten-year lung cancer-specific survival was not significantly different: 90% (95% confidence interval: 87%–92%) for surgery versus 88% (95% confidence interval: 77%–99%) for SBRT, p = 0.55. Cox regression revealed no significant difference in lung cancer-specific survival for the combined cohorts (p = 0.48) or separately for I-ELCAP (p = 1.00) and IELCART (p = 1.00). Although 10-year all-cause survival was significantly different (75% versus 45%, p < 0.0001), after propensity score matching, all-cause survival using Cox regression was no longer different for the combined cohorts (p = 0.74) or separately for I-ELCAP (p = 1.00) and IELCART (p = 0.62). Conclusions: This first prospectively collected cohort analysis of long-term survival of small, early NSCLCs revealed that lung cancer-specific survival was high for both treatments and not significantly different (p = 0.48) and that all-cause survival after propensity matching was not significantly different (p = 0.74). This supports SBRT as an alternative treatment option for small, early NSCLCs which is especially important with their increasing frequency owing to low-dose computed tomography screening. Furthermore, treatment decisions are influenced by many different factors and should be personalized on the basis of the unique circumstances of each patient.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
- Lung cancer
- Radiation therapy