Smoking Cessation After NSCLC Diagnosis Cuts Mortality Risk

For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), smoking cessation after diagnosis is associated with a reduced risk for all-cause mortality, cancer-specific mortality, and disease progression, according to a study published online July 27 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mahdi Sheikh, M.D., Ph.D., from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and colleagues examined whether quitting smoking after lung cancer diagnosis affects the risk for disease progression and mortality in a prospective study of 517 current smokers diagnosed with early-stage NSCLC.

The researchers identified 325 (63.8 percent) deaths, 271 (53.2 percent) cancer-specific deaths, and 172 (33.7 percent) cases of tumor progression during an average of seven years of follow-up. Compared with those who continued smoking, those who quit had an adjusted median overall survival time that was 21.6 months higher (6.6 versus 4.8 years). Compared with those who continued smoking, those who quit had higher five-year overall survival (60.6 versus 48.6 percent) and progression-free survival (54.4 versus 43.8 percent). Smoking cessation remained associated with a reduced risk for all-cause mortality, cancer-specific mortality, and disease progression after adjustments (hazard ratios, 0.67, 0.75 and 0.72, respectively). Among mild-to-moderate and heavy smokers and for patients with earlier and later cancer stages, similar effects were observed.

“Given that at least 50 percent of active smokers with NSCLC are thought to continue smoking after diagnosis, this provides an important opportunity to substantially improve overall and progression-free survival in this type of cancer,” the authors write.

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