The role of surgery for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is not clear. We aimed to evaluate this issue using a population-based database.
Patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2014 with SCLC staged T1-4 N0-2 M0 disease were retrieved from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to reduce bias between the surgical and nonsurgical patient groups. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression analysis were used to compare overall survival (OS) for the matched patients.
A total of 8,811 patients were retrieved, including 863 patients who underwent surgical resection. After 1:1 PSM, a matched cohort with 1,562 patients was generated. In the matched cohort, surgery was associated with 5-year OS improvement (from 16.8 to 36.7%, p < 0.001) and lung cancer-specific survival improvement (from 21.6 to 43.2%, p < 0.001). Survival benefits of surgery were significant in all subgroups, including N1-2 disease, except for patients with a tumor size >5.0 cm or T3 disease.
Patients with SCLC of limited stage can benefit from surgery, including N1-2 disease. However, patients with a tumor size >5.0 cm or advanced T stage may be unable to benefit from surgery.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.