Women diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) live longer than their male counterparts, according to results of a SWOG study presented today by Kathy Albain, MD, the Huizenga Family Endowed Chair in Oncology Research at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s (IASLC’s) 19th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Albain led the international study, S0424, for SWOG, the cancer clinical trials group that is part of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), the nation’s oldest and largest publicly funded cancer research network.
Albain and her SWOG team studied 981 patients newly diagnosed with stage I, II, or III NSCLC and grouped them into four cohorts based on sex and smoking history.
Then, they analysed data on cancer stage, patients’ tumour type and mutations, hormonal influences, treatment plans, and survival rates.
Patients were followed for five years, or until their deaths, in order to determine overall survival, or how long they lived after enrolling on the trial.
S0424 is the first prospective trial of this scope for NSCLC, designed specifically to follow survival outcomes.
It was a collaborative trial within NCTN, and included researchers from Canada and Japan.
Regardless of smoking history or any other factor, women in S0424 had significantly better overall survival (OS) rates compared to men.
The analysis found that female never-smokers (FNS) and female ever-smokers (FES) had significantly better OS compared to male never-smokers (MNS) and male ever-smokers (MES).
Five-year estimates reported overall survival at 73 percent for FNS, 69 percent for FES, 58 percent for MNS and 52 percent for MES.
“Women with NSCLC live longer, even when we control for every factor that might influence survival in NSCLC, including tobacco and other exposures, lifestyle factors, disease stage, treatment, tumour biology and hormonal factors,” Albain said. “Additional study is needed to further investigate favourable survival for women in this population, and our large clinical trials need to be equally balanced for women.”