Surgery Effectiveness for Lung Cancer Patients with IPF Explored in New Study

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Surgery for lung cancer patients with IPF

A recent study from Korea indicates that sublobar resection is less likely to result in death compared to a lobar resection for lung cancer patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The research report, Clinical results of sublobar resection versus lobectomy or more extensive resection for lung cancer patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, appeared May 8 in the Journal of Thoracic Disease.

A lobectomy involves removal of the entire lobe of the lung while a sublobar resection consists of removing the part of the lung containing the tumor.

IPF refers to the thickening and scarring of lung tissue; it is not known what causes the condition. The disease results in difficulty breathing, and is eventually fatal. Patients with IPF would greatly benefit from new, effective, and safe treatments for the condition. This includes an understanding of the optimal lung surgery strategies in people with lung cancer and IPF.

The researchers, led by Seok Joo of the Department of Trauma Surgery, Regional Trauma Center, Gachon University Gil Hospital in Incheon, Republic of Korea, sought to understand whether more extensive or less extensive surgeries are better for treating IPF in lung cancer patients.

They studied 65 patients with lung cancer and IPF who had a lobar resection and 15 who underwent a sublobar resection. Overall, fewer deaths occurred in the hospital for the sublobar group (6.7 percent) compared to the lobar group (15.4 percent). This was not however, a statistically meaningful effect. There was no difference in deaths due to cancer between the two groups. More patients in the lobar group survived without their cancer recurring than in the sublobar group. However, overall survival after the surgery was not different between the two groups.

“Although not statistically significant, a sublobar resection results in less in-hospital mortality than a lobar resection for lung cancer patients with IPF,” the investigators concluded. “There is no significant difference in overall survival compared with lobar resection. A sublobar resection may be another therapeutic option for lung cancer patients with IPF.”

The sublobar surgery could benefit some patients, but the surgical treatment selected may also depend upon individual patient characteristics. Although more sublobar patients survived in the hospital, the overall survival did not seem to be affected by the two different types of surgeries.

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