Lung cancer is a major global cause of mortality, reportedly accounting for 1.7 million deaths each year. The most common form of lung cancer is non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and early-stage NSCLCs can often be surgically resected. Unfortunately, some patients still experience poor outcomes after surgical resection, prompting further research on the relationship between a patient's preoperative status and the likelihood of good postoperative outcomes.
Given this need for information, Dr. Shinya Tanaka from the Department of Rehabilitation and Prof. Naoki Ozeki from the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Nagoya University, and their colleagues decided to investigate. Previous studies had identified some risk factors for mortality after NSCLC resection, including sarcopenia, which is defined as the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength and predominantly occurs in older individuals. Another known risk factor for unfavorable postoperative outcomes is poor physical performance as measured with the 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) test, which involves measuring how far a patient can walk on a corridor in the span of 6 minutes.
To Dr. Tanaka and Prof. Ozeki, these past findings clearly pointed to "the importance of comprehensively assessing a patient's preoperative physical state in order to determine his or her risks of poor outcomes." However, no previous study of postoperative outcomes in patients with NSCLC had considered both sarcopenia and physical performance. Dr. Tanaka, Prof. Ozeki, and their colleagues, therefore, decided to conduct a study that addressed this gap in research. Their findings appear in a paper recently published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle.