Purpose: Guidelines for the treatment of postoperative recurrent lung cancer in octogenarians do not exist. In this study, we investigated the prognosis of patients with recurrence after the resection of lung cancer and discuss the management of recurrent tumors in octogenarians. Methods: This study clinicopathologically evaluated 135 octogenarians who underwent resections for lung cancer at a single institution between 1992 and 2010. We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of 37 patients with confirmed recurrence. The overall survival of the patients and the treatments used for postoperative recurrence were evaluated. Results: Among 37 patients, six underwent intensive treatment, 14 underwent palliative treatment and 17 received supportive care only. The overall survival rates of the patients in the antitumor treatment groups tended to be associated with a better prognoses than those of the patients in the supportive care only group, but they did not exhibit significantly better prognoses at 1 year (p = 0.202). However, among the patients with a good performance status, the intensive treatment group tended to exhibit prolonged survival. Of the 37 patients with recurrent tumors, five (14 %) died of other diseases. Conclusions: Antitumor treatment of postoperative recurrent lung cancer in octogenarians may not always improve the survival rate. However, carefully selecting patients for intensive therapy, such as those with a good performance status, may lead to longer survival rates after postoperative recurrence in octogenarians.
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