Researchers from Japan have discovered a correlation between pre-operative patient status and lung cancer mortality rate.
The research, published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, analyses the relationship between non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), sarcopenia – a type of age-related muscle loss commonly found in older adults, and poor walking abilities, investigating how they influence patient outcomes after surgical resection.
Lung cancer is one of the most substantial causes of mortality worldwide, with an estimated 1.7 million deaths attributed to the deadly disease per year. NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer, with early stages often being eligible to surgical resection; however, with various patients still demonstrating negative outcomes after resection, Dr Shinya Tanaka and Professor Naoki Ozeki from Nagoya University began to ponder the implications of sarcopenia and physical performance on patient outcomes.
Tanaka said: “These findings clearly point to the importance of comprehensively assessing a patient’s pre-operative physical state in order to determine his or her risk of poor outcomes.”
Investigating the implications of sarcopenia and exercise intolerance
To conduct their investigation, the researchers compiled data from 587 patients diagnosed with NSCLC, who, between 2014 and 2017, underwent resection surgeries at Nagoya University Hospital. They specifically examined the impacts of pre-operative sarcopenia and exercise intolerance – the inability to walk further than 400 metres on the 6MWD test, analysing their ramifications on patient mortality during their three-year post-operative follow-up period.
Their findings indicated that patients with preoperative sarcopenia displayed a 1.78-fold higher chance of death during follow-up than their peers who did not suffer from sarcopenia or exercise intolerance. Lung cancer patients with pre-operative exercise intolerance exhibited a 2.26-fold higher likelihood of death than patients without preoperative sarcopenia and exercise intolerance. Nevertheless, where the effects were most significantly exemplified was in patients who had a combination of pre-operative sarcopenia and exercise intolerance, registering a 3.38-fold higher probability of death than patients who displayed neither.
The researchers hope that their study will be beneficial for oncologists when predicting a patient’s post-resection prognoses, taking a more comprehensive approach when considering a patient’s variables, such as sarcopenia and exercise intolerance.
“We hope that our findings may contribute to the establishment of intervention methods to improve the prognoses of patients with NSCLC. We also hope that people will realise the importance of nutrition and exercise and try to lead healthier lives,” added Tanaka.