OBJECTIVES: Despite new therapeutic perspectives, the presence of central airways occlusion (CAO) in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with poor survival. There is no clear evidence on the clinical impact of interventional bronchoscopy as a part of an integrated treatment to cure these patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective cohort study was conducted in two teaching hospitals over a 10 years period (January 2010-January 2020) comparing patients with NSCLC at stage IIIB and CAO at disease onset treated with chemotherapy/radiotherapy (standard therapy-ST) with those receiving interventional bronchoscopy plus ST (integrated treatment-IT). Primary outcome was 1-year survival. The onset of respiratory events, symptoms-free interval, hospitalization, need for palliation, and overall mortality served as secondary outcomes.
RESULTS: A total of 100 patients were included, 60 in the IT and 40 in the ST group. Unadjusted Kaplan-Meier estimates showed greater effect of IT compared to ST on 1-year survival (HR = 2.1 95%CI[1.1-4.8], p = 0.003). IT showed a significantly higher survival gain over ST in those patients showing KRAS mutation (7.6 VS 0.8 months,<0.0001), a lumen occlusion >65% (6.6 VS 2.9 months,<0.001), and lacking the involvement of left bronchus (7 VS 2.3 months,<0.0001). Compared to ST, IT also showed a favorable difference in terms of new hospitalizations (p = 0.03), symptom-free interval (p = 0.02), and onset of atelectasis (p = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: In patients with NSCLC stage IIIB and CAO, additional interventional bronchoscopy might impact on 1-year survival. Genetic and anatomic phenotyping might allow identifying those patients who may gain life expectancy from the endoscopic intervention.