Effect of progressive sarcopenia during postoperative 6 months on long-term prognosis of completely resected lung cancer

Masashi Nagata, Hiroyuki Ito, Tomoyuki Yokose, Akihiro Tokushige, Shinichiro Ueda, Haruhiko Nakayama


Background: Preoperative sarcopenia has been indicated to be a potential prognostic factor for patients after complete resection of lung cancer. This study evaluated whether changes in the skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) over postoperative 6 months could predict long-term prognosis from 6 months after complete resection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: This retrospective study analyzed data of 468 patients who underwent curative lobar resection for non-small cell lung cancer at our hospital. The 6-month postoperative change in SMI was calculated, and associations between clinicopathological factors (including the change in SMI) and postoperative mortality were examined.
Results: Rates of overall survival were 90.6% after 3 years and 80.7% after 5 years. The median 6-month change in SMI was –3.4% (range, –22.3% to 14.7%). Multivariate analysis revealed that poor outcomes were independently predicted by a large change in SMI, age, pathological stage, lymphovascular invasion, and a Brinkman index of ≥600. Through the analysis in training and validation sets, we determined a cut-off value of –9.9% for the 6-month postoperative change in SMI. Subgroup analysis showed that depletion of SMI during postoperative 6 months was a risk factor for poorer prognosis only in heavy smokers with a Brinkman index of ≥600.
Conclusions: A reduction in SMI during the 6 months after complete resection of non-small cell lung cancer significantly predicted prognosis, especially in heavy smokers. These results suggest that attention should be given to prevent the perioperative progression of sarcopenia after curative resection of lung cancer. Thoracic surgeons should take how to manage perioperatively against sarcopenia into consideration.