Clinical Features and Survival Expectancy

Chapter 1 - Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, and Risk Factors


Adapted from Siegel R, et al. Ca Cancer J Clin 2014;64:9-29

Only 15% of all lung cancer cases is diagnosed at an early stage, with a 5-year survival rate higher than 50%.

In a large percentage of cases, lung cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage with distant metastases and a 5-year survival rate of about 4%.

Five-year survival rate for all lung cancer stages combined is about 17%.


Source: Dela Cruz CS, et al. Clin Chest Med 2011;32:605-644

Lung cancer in both sexes is predominantly diagnosed in the elderly population (median age at diagnosis is 71 years).

Compared with men, women are less likely to have a smoking history, are generally younger at the time of diagnosis, and have a better survival expectancy at any stage, independent of the therapeutic approach.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung is the most common histological subtype among women.


Source: Dela Cruz CS, et al. Clin Chest Med 2011;32:605-644

Adenocarcinoma accounts for 38.5% of all lung cancer cases, while squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma account for 20.0% and 2.9%, respectively.

In the past decades, adenocarcinoma incidence has progressively increased, and nowadays it has replaced squamous cell carcinoma as the most prevalent histotype of non-small-cell lung cancer.


Adenocarcinoma of the lung is also the most represented histotype among never-smokers.

Revision Questions

  • What is the proportion of patients with lung cancer diagnosed at early stage of disease?
  • Is there a correlation between a clinical characteristic (such as female gender or smoking attitude) and one specific histotype?
  • Is the subtype histology prevalence the same compared with 30 years ago?

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Last update: 16 September 2014
Clinical Features and Survival Expectancy
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