Characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients with nonsmoking small cell lung cancer in Korea

Korean Association for Lung Cancer, Korea Central Cancer Registry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients with nonsmoking small cell lung cancer (SCLC) using a nationwide registry in Korea. Methods: The Korean Association for Lung Cancer developed a registry in cooperation with the Korean Central Cancer Registry (KCCR) and surveyed approximately 10% of recorded lung cancer cases. Results: From 2014 to 2016, the KCCR registered 1,043 patients newly diagnosed with SCLC among a total of 8,110 lung cancer patients. In subgroup analysis, Kaplan meier survival analysis showed that the overall survival (OS) was significantly shorter in the nonsmoking subgroup than the ever-smoking subgroup of SCLC patients with extensive disease (6.99 vs. 9.68 months; P = 0.016). Among SCLC patients with limited disease, OS was also shorter in the nonsmoking subgroup, without statistical significance (19.4 vs. 23.5 months; P = 0.247). In a multivariate analysis using a Cox regression model, never smoking was not associated with shorter OS, but older age, extensive stage, poor performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group grade ≥ 2), male sex, no prophylactic cranial irradiation, and no active treatment (chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) were associated with poor prognosis. Conclusion: This evaluation of an unbiased nationwide survey dataset revealed that a significant proportion of Korean SCLC patients were never-smokers. No history of smoking appeared to be a significant prognostic factor according to the univariate analysis but was confirmed to be statistically insignificant through a multivariate analysis of the total population. Reasons for a poor prognosis may include the possibility that a high rate of the elderly population is composed of nonsmokers who did not receive active treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Korea
  • Never-smokers
  • Small cell lung carcinoma


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