Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma: An analysis of a rare cancer from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database

Mohamed Rahouma, Mohamed Kamel, Navneet Narula, Abu Nasar, Sebron Harrison, Benjamin Lee, Brendon Stiles, Nasser K. Altorki, Jeffrey L. Port

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma (PSC) is a rare malignant neoplasm that accounts for a small percentage of non-smallcell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). At least 10% of PSCs has a spindle and/or giant cell component, which is often associated with a poor prognosis. We reviewed the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database for the clinicopathological characteristics and surgical outcomes of PSCs. METHODS: The SEER database (1973-2013) was queried for PSC. A comparison between PSC and other NSCLC patients was performed. Cox regression for overall survival (OS) and logistic regression for node-positive predictors were performed. A propensity-matched (1:2) analysis (including age, gender, grade and stage) among surgically treated cases was done to compare OS in PSC versus other NSCLCs. RESULTS: A total of 955 899 NSCLC patients were identified; of these, 4987 patients had been diagnosed with PSC (0.52%). Men represented 60.9% of cases, with a median age of 68 years. The median size of the tumour was 5 cm and 3.5 cm in PSCs and NSCLCs, respectively (P < 0.001). PSC patients had significantly less Stage I, more high-grade tumours, advanced T stage, N+ disease and M1 disease (P < 0.001). In the PSC cohort, the most significant predictor of N+ disease on multivariate analysis was advanced T stage (P < 0.001). Predictors of OS in Stages I/II PSC on multivariate analysis were advanced age [P < 0.001, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.03], male gender (P = 0.024, HR = 1.25), carcinosarcoma (P = 0.002, HR = 1.76), grade (P = 0.033, HR = 1.81), T stage (P = 0.003, HR = 1.75), N status (P = 0.001, HR = 1.90) and surgical resection (P < 0.001, HR = 0.58). Among matched surgically resected cohorts, a poorer prognosis for OS was evident in PSCs in early stages (I/II) than in other NSCLCs (P = 0.009). CONCLUSIONS: PSC patients present with more advanced stage and with worse survival outcomes than other NSCLC patients. While surgical resection conveys a survival advantage in PSC, this group represents a population at a high risk for relapse and should be evaluated for novel adjuvant therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-834
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Node-positive predictors
  • Propensity score match
  • Radiation
  • SEER database
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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