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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) in Young Adults, Age < 50, Is Associated with Late Stage at Presentation and a Very Poor Prognosis in Patients That Do Not Have a Targeted Therapy Option: A Real-World Study

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Daniel Hughes, Matthaios Kapiris, Andreja Podvez Nevajda, Harriet McGrath, Chara Stavraka, Shahreen Ahmad, Benjamin P. Taylor, Gary Cook, Sharmistha Ghosh, Debra Josephs, Elias Pintus, Spyridon Gennatas, Andrea Bille, Kimuli Ryanna, George Santis, Ana Montes, Mieke Van Hemelrijck, Karapanagiotou Eleni, Daniel Smith, James Spicer & 1 more Alexandros Georgiou

Original languageEnglish
Article number6056
Issue number24
Published9 Dec 2022

King's Authors


(1) Background: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in young patients is uncommon. Real-world evidence on the outcomes of these patients is limited. (2) Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of young NSCLC patients, age < 50 years at diagnosis, who were treated between 2011–2020 in South-East-London cancer centres. Clinicopathological characteristics, treatment and outcomes were analysed. (3) Results: Of 248 NSCLC patients, median age was 46 years, 50% (n = 125) female, 58% (n = 145) white, 18% (n = 45) black and 4% (n = 10) Asian ethnicity. Amongst patients with a documented smoking history, 30% (n = 64) were never-smokers. Most patients had adenocarcinoma (77%, n = 191) and presented with metastatic disease (67%, n = 166). Only 31% (n = 76) had treatment with curative intent. In patients who presented or developed metastatic non-squamous NSCLC (n = 179), EGFR mutation status was known in 88% (n = 157) and mutation present in 19% (n = 34), ALK was known in 66% (n = 118) with a translocation in 10% (n = 18), ROS1 status was known in 57% (n = 102) with a translocation in 4% (n = 8), and KRAS status was known in 66% (n = 119) with a mutation in 12% (n = 22). Overall, 76% (n = 152) patients with metastatic NSCLC received first-line systemic anti-cancer therapy. Median overall survival in metastatic NSCLC was 9.0 months (95% CI 6.5–11.6 months), with superior median overall survival in those with a targeted therapy option (28.7 months) compared to those without (6.6 months; p < 0.001). (4) Conclusion: Young patients contribute a significant proportion of those presenting with lung cancer. They present with advanced stage at diagnosis and have a poor prognosis. Identification of a targeted therapy option is associated with improved survival. However, most patients do not have a known genomic driver, which is in part due to limited testing, particularly in the early years of this study period. These findings highlight the particular importance of rapid-turnaround comprehensive genomic profiling in this age group and the need to identify strategies to facilitate earlier diagnosis in young NSCLC patients.

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