Purpose: Given the increasing number of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients in India, a comparative analysis between patients under 40 years and those of older age at a major public referral centre would provide insight into the phenotypic patterns of this group.
Methods: NSCLC patients who were accessioned within the lung cancer clinic database of the Pulmonary Medicine Department at the all India institute of medical sciences – Delhi between 2008 and 2019 were reviewed. Patients 40 years or younger and 60 years or older were selected and categorised as young and older patients, respectively. Baseline clinical characteristics, histologic profiles, treatments administered and survival outcomes were compared between both groups.
Results: Following the database review, 154 young and 1,058 older patients were selected for inclusion. Clinically, young patients were more often female (26.0% versus 14.5%, p < 0.001), retained a more independent performance status (64.1% versus 45.5%; p < 0.001) and never smoked (63.7 % versus 18.8%, p < 0.001). Regarding disease profiles, young patients were more frequently diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (p < 0.001) and 12 young patients had adenoid cystic carcinoma. Rates of stage IV disease at presentation were higher among young patients (78.0% versus 63.0%, p < 0.001). Regarding treatment, no differences in systemic therapies administered or survival were identified.
Conclusion: In India, young NSCLC patients are frequently non-smokers and diagnosed with advanced disease. Despite better performance status, young patients do not share better outcomes. Efforts should be directed towards optimising intensive treatment for young patients.