Researchers from Japan have discovered a link between the patient’s preoperative status and the death rate from lung cancer.
The research, published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, analyzes 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 skills, and examines how they influence the patient’s outcomes after surgical resection.
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with an estimated 1.7 million deaths per year from the deadly disease. NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer, with early stages often eligible for surgical resection; However, while several patients still showed negative results after resection, Dr. Shinya Tanaka and Nagoya University Professor Naoki Ozeki began to consider the implications of sarcopenia and physical performance on patient outcomes.
Tanaka said, “These findings clearly indicate the importance of a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s preoperative physical condition to determine his or her risk of poor outcomes.”
Investigation of the implications of sarcopenia and exercise intolerance
To conduct their study, the researchers collected data from 587 patients diagnosed with NSCLC, who underwent resection surgery at Nagoya University Hospital between 2014 and 2017. They specifically examined the effects of preoperative sarcopenia and exercise intolerance – the inability to walk further than 400 meters on the 6MWD test, and analyzed their consequences for patient mortality during their three-year postoperative follow-up period.
Their findings indicated that patients with preoperative sarcopenia had a 1.78 times higher risk of death during follow-up than their peers who did not suffer from sarcopenia or do not tolerate physical exertion. Lung cancer patients with preoperative exercise intolerance showed a 2.26 times higher risk of death than patients without preoperative sarcopenia and exercise intolerance. Nevertheless, the effects were most significantly illustrated in patients with a combination of preoperative sarcopenia and exercise intolerance, who registered a 3.38 times higher risk of death than patients who showed neither.
The researchers hope their study will be beneficial to oncologists in predicting a patient’s prognosis after resection, taking a more comprehensive approach when considering a patient’s variables, such as sarcopenia and exercise intolerance.
“We hope that our findings can contribute to the design of intervention methods to improve the prognoses of patients with NSCLC. We also hope that people will realize the importance of diet and exercise and try to live healthier lives, ”added Tanaka.
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