Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

ASCO20 Preview: Study Finds Lung Cancer Survival Improved With Even Recent Smoking Cessation

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Monday, May 18, 2020

Smoking cessation—even 2 years before a lung cancer diagnosis—may improve overall survival in those diagnosed with the disease, according to Aline Fusco Fares, MD, of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, and colleagues. In addition, there was a statistically significant improvement in lung cancer–specific survival for those who quit smoking more than 5 years prior to diagnosis. These findings were presented during a press briefing prior to the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program (Abstract 1512).

“Here we demonstrate that convincing screening participants to quit smoking at any point of their trajectory, even just prior to diagnosis…improved overall survival,” concluded the authors.

Researchers used data from the International Lung Cancer Consortium regarding individual patients’ time since smoking cessation. They estimated survival among the 14,322 patients who were current smokers, 14,273 patients who had quit smoking, and 6,054 patients who had never smoked. In comparison to current smokers, patients who had quit smoking or who had never smoked had improved overall survival compared with current smokers (hazard ratio = 0.88 and 0.76, respectively).

Among patients who were ex-smokers, the time since smoking cessation was directly correlated with increased overall survival compared with current smokers. At less than 2 years since smoking cessation, the overall survival improved by 12% compared with current smoking, whereas survival increased 17% at 2 to 5 years since smoking cessation, and 20% in patients who quit smoking more than 5 years prior to diagnosis. Additionally, there was a trend toward increased lung cancer–specific survival at up to 5 years since smoking cessation, whereas those who quit smoking more than 5 years ago saw a 15% increase in lung cancer–specific survival compared with current smokers. Of note, these same trends held true in the population who had smoked for more than 30 pack-years.

Disclosure: For Dr. Geoffrey Liu’s disclosures, visit All other study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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