Surgical resection in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy may benefit patients with an advanced form metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Matthew J. Bott, MD, and colleagues evaluated data from the National Cancer Database on 9,173 patients with stage IIIB NSCLC who had undergone combination treatment (multimodality therapy) between 1998 and 2010.

Patients were split into two groups: 7,459 patients who were treated with combined chemotherapy and radiation (CR group), and 1,714 patients who were treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery (CRS group) in any order.

The researchers found that the median overall survival was more than 9 months longer in the CRS group than in the CR group (25.9 months vs. 16.3 months, respectively).

Because the patients in the CRS group tended to be younger, Caucasian, and have slightly smaller tumors than the patients in the CR group, Dr. Bott cautioned that surgery should be added to the treatment regimen only for carefully selected patients and that more research needs to be conducted before definitive guidelines can be established.

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