Lung cancer is relatively rare in young patients as the median age at diagnosis is 65-70 years. The main objective of this nationwide study was to investigate the characteristics of young lung cancer in Taiwan, especially the relationships among smoking behavior, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation, and age. The National Taiwan Lung Cancer Registry, a database contain detailed cancer statistics, was analyzed in this study for the period 2011-2012. Young lung cancer was defined as age ≦- 45 years. There were 21,536 lung cancer patients (13,187 men and 8349 women). Among these patients, 1074 (5.0%) were in the younger group, and 20,462 patients (95.0%) were in the older group. Female gender (48.8% versus 38.2%, P < 0.001), never-smokers (47.3% versus 43.8%, P = 0.015), and adenocarcinoma (70.4% versus 58.1%, P < 0.001) were more frequent in the younger group. While the EGFR mutation rate was lower in the younger group (52.5% versus 60.6%, P = 0.001), the primary site of lung cancer and stage distribution were not significantly different. If only adenocarcinoma patients were included in the analysis, female gender, older age, and never-smokers were more likely to have EGFR mutation. In conclusion, lung cancer in young patients (≦- 45 year-old) was associated with unique characteristics, with greater percentages of female patients, adenocarcinoma, and never-smokers and a lower EGFR mutation rate compared with older patients.
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