Background: The Lung Cancer Study Group has shown that lobectomy provides the best survival in patients with non–small cell lung cancer. However, as patients become older, lobectomy may not provide a survival advantage compared with sublobar resection. Methods: We analyzed the National Cancer Database for octogenarians with pathologic stage I lung cancer from 2004 to 2016. We then evaluated the patients who underwent lobectomy or sublobar (segmentectomy or wedge) resection for the treatment of cancer. We analyzed the 5-year survival rates of the groups as well as a cubic spline plot to determine age cutoffs where lobectomy does not provide improved survival. Results: Among the octogenarians (227 134), there were 25 362 (26%) who had pathologic stage I lung cancer. There were 6370 (30%) patients who had sublobar resections (segmentectomy [n = 1192] and wedge resection [n = 5178]), whereas 14 594 (70%) patients had a lobectomy. There was significantly improved survival at 5 years with lobectomy compared with sublobar resection (48.5% vs 41.1%; P < .001). The cubic spline plot provided evidence that there was no age at which sublobar resection provided survival better than or equal to lobectomy (P < .001). Conclusions: In octogenarians with pathologic stage I lung cancer, lobectomy provided better 5-year survival compared with sublobar resection regardless of the age at surgical procedure. Hence, all patients with stage I cancer should be considered for a lobectomy if they are medically able to tolerate such a procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824-1832
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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