Small cell lung cancer in the young: Characteristics, diagnosis and outcome data

Shiyu Jiang, Xuezhi Hao, Junling Li, Xingsheng Hu, Zefen Xiao, Hongyu Wang, Yan Wang, Yan Sun, Yuankai Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) younger than 40 years are limited in number. Our research aimed to assess the characteristics, diagnosis and outcomes of this patient population. Methods: Records of patients under the age of 40 with SCLC at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences between January 2006 and December 2015 were reviewed and evaluated. Results: One hundred and three patients (67.0% limited stage, 33.0% extensive stage) were included, along with 54 (52.4%) never-smokers. The median diagnostic interval and the median survival time (MST) were 51.0 days and 24.0 months, respectively. A total of 41 (39.8%) patients claimed to have undergone antibiotic treatment before diagnosis, with a median duration of 2 weeks. In univariate analysis, survival was better for the limited stage group than the extensive stage group (MST, 28.0 vs. 13.0 months, P < 0.0001). Also, patients who received concurrent radiochemotherapy had better survival than those who received chemotherapy alone (MST, 29.0 vs. 18.0 months, P = 0.001). Patients with antibiotic treatment before SCLC diagnosis have worse prognosis than those without (MST, 21.0 vs. 27.0 months, P = 0.008). Moreover, a timely diagnosis (≤1 month) exerted a positive impact on the overall survival in limited stage patients (48.0 vs. 26.0 months, P = 0.047) and on progression-free survival in extensive stage patients (6.0 vs. 3.0 months, P = 0.030). Multivariate analysis suggested that disease stage, history of antibiotic treatment before SCLC diagnosis and performance status independently correlated with survival. Conclusion: Our study identified distinct characteristics and prognostic factors of SCLC patients under 40 years. More timely care may improve patient prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Respiratory Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • diagnosis
  • small cell lung cancer
  • survival
  • time
  • young adult


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