HealthDay News — For veterans with pathologic stage I non-small cell lung cancer receiving surgery, more frequent surveillance after surgery is not associated with improved survival, according to a study published online Nov. 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Brendan T. Heiden, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of veterans with pathologic stage I non-small cell lung cancer receiving surgery to examine the association between surveillance frequency (chest computed tomography [CT] scans within two years after surgery) and recurrence-free and overall survival. Data were included for 6,171 patients: 49.4 and 50.6 percent underwent low-frequency (fewer than two scans/year) and high-frequency (two or more scans/year) surveillance, respectively.
The researchers found that being a former versus current smoker, receiving a wedge resection versus lobectomy, and having follow-up with an oncologist were factors associated with high-frequency surveillance; African American versus White race was associated with low-frequency surveillance. Recurrence was detected in 22.0 percent of patients, with a median follow-up of 7.3 years. There was no association seen for high-frequency surveillance with longer recurrence-free or overall survival.
“Our findings suggest that lung cancer treatment guidelines should consider less frequent surveillance imaging than current recommendations,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Annual surveillance would simplify guidelines and may result in better, easier postoperative care for early-stage patients.”