Epidemiology of oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer: Results from a systematic review and pooled analysis

Elisa Gobbini, Luca Bertolaccini, Niccolò Giaj-Levra, Jessica Menis, Matteo Giaj-Levra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: To describe the incidence and the clinical characteristics of oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Oligometastatic NSCLC is gaining recognition as a clinical condition with a different prognosis compared to multi metastatic disease. Usually, four different scenarios of oligometastatic disease can be described but not epidemiological data are available. To date, it is difficult to delineate an exhaustive epidemiological scenario because no uniform or shared definition of oligometastatic status exists, even though a recent consensus defined synchronous oligometastatic disease as having a maximum of 5 metastases in 3 different organs. Methods: A systematic review and a pooled analysis of literature were performed. Article selection was based on the following characteristics: focus on lung cancers; dealing with oligometastatic settings and providing a definition of oligometastatic disease; number of metastatic lesions with or without the number of organs involved; providing some incidence or clinical characteristics of oligometastatic NSCLC patients. Series focusing on a specific single metastatic organ were excluded. The research was launched in MEDLINE (OvidSP) in March 2020. Full articles were individually and collectively read by the authors according to the previous criteria. Each author inspected the reference list included in the eligible articles. If the selection criteria were recognized, the article was reviewed by all authors and then included. Data on patient clinical features were pooled together from 31 articles selected. Results: A total number of 31 articles have been selected for the analysis. The following variables were extracted from the publications: (I) number of metastases, (II) number of organs involved, (III) number of patients, (IV) number and percentage of males and females, (V) number and percentage of squamous and non-squamous histology, (VI) T and N status and/or stage of primary disease for oligometastatic setting. The data collected have been analyzed according to the oligometastatic setting. Conclusions: Oligometastatic status is globally identified as a different clinical condition from multi metastatic NSCLC, although the clinical characteristics were consistent in the general metastatic population, even with a lower-than-expected TN status. The brain and bones were the most frequent organs involved. Lacking consensus definition, these results must be interpreted cautiously and a prospective evaluation is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3339-3350
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Oligometastatic disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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