Background: There is neither a nation-wide nor a large-scale, multi-institutional lung cancer database available for stage-by-stage survival analysis in Taiwan at present. Methods: Using the data element provided by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, the Taiwan Lung Cancer Society initiated a project to include native lung cancer patients into a global database. A total of 1112 Taiwan lung cancer patients treated in 7 medical centers were enrolled. Results: In small cell lung cancer, patients with ipsilateral pleural effusion had a survival between those with locoregional disease alone and those with distant metastasis; however, the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.204). In non-small cell lung cancer, tumor size had significant survival influence for patients as a whole (P <0.001) but it did not support the further division of stage IA according to tumor size (P = 0.122). The survival was compatible in stage IIIB and IV patients and therefore, the survival impact of pleural effusion cannot be determined. In patients with pIIIA-N2 disease, those who had station 8 nodal metastasis had inferior survival (P = 0.020) and station 5 superior survival (P = 0.010). In patients with distant metastasis, bone, liver, or distant lymph node metastasis predicted an inferior survival (all P values <0.05). Conclusions: The present study provides for comparison in this area a stage-by-stage reference for the survival of lung cancer patients. Some factors other than current TNM descriptors need to be further investigated in constructing the next version of the staging system.
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