Preoperative coronary artery calcifications in veterans predict higher all-cause mortality in early-stage lung cancer: a cohort study.


Lung cancer patients often have comorbidities that may impact survival. This observational cohort study examines whether coronary artery calcifications (CAC) impact all-cause mortality in patients with resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Veterans with stage I NSCLC who underwent resection at a single institution between 2005 and 2018 were selected from a prospectively collected database. Radiologists blinded to patient outcomes graded CAC severity (mild, moderate, or severe) in preoperative CT scans using a visual estimation scoring system. Inter-rater reliability was calculated using the kappa statistic. All-cause mortality was the primary outcome. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to compare time-to-death by varying CAC.

The Veteran patients (n=195) were predominantly older (median age of 67) male (98%) smokers (96%). The majority (68%) were pathologic stage IA. Overall, 12% of patients had no CAC, 27% mild, 26% moderate, and 36% severe CAC. Median unadjusted survival was 8.8 years for patients with absent or mild CAC versus 6.3 years for moderate and 5.9 years for severe CAC (P=0.01). The adjusted hazard ratio for moderate CAC was 1.44 (95% CI, 0.85-2.46) and for severe CAC was 1.73 (95% CI, 1.03-2.88; P for trend <0.05).

The presence of severe CAC on preoperative imaging significantly impacted the all-cause survival of patients undergoing resection for stage I NSCLC. This impact on mortality should be taken into consideration by multidisciplinary teams when making treatment plans for patients with early-stage disease.

  • Deppen SA
  • Edwards GC
  • Grogan EL
  • Lio E
  • Maiga AW
  • Marmor HN
  • Nesbitt JC
  • Pinkerman R
  • Shah C
  • Shipe ME
  • Smith GT
  • Wright JL
PubMed ID
Appears In
J Thorac Dis, 2021, 13 (3)