Objectives — To examine the impact of time to surgery (TTS) on survival among patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods — All patients in the Canadian province of Ontario with stage I NSCLC from 2007 to 2017 were included. A logistic regression identified the predictors of TTS and a flexible parametric model estimated survival rates based on TTS.
Results — Over the study period, 6428 patients with stage I NSCLC undergoing surgical resection were identified, of which 62.5% had TTS >28 days. Less than half these patients (40.8%) underwent open resection, with 19.3% undergoing open sublobar and 21.5% undergoing open lobectomy. Adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma tumors accounted for 33.3% and 22.0% of cases, respectively. The majority (85.6%) of patients lived in urban areas within 50 km of a regional cancer center (76.9%). Variables that predicted TTS >28 days include age and extent of resection. After adjustment for VATS vs. open resection, age, sex, frailty, year of diagnosis, histology of tumor, and extent of resection, the hazard ratio for TTS >28 days was 1.26 (95%CI:1.13–1.40), indicating a 26% increased risk of all-cause mortality (p < 0.0001). The highest 5-year survival was observed for patients with stage I disease undergoing resection within 28 days.
Conclusions — The present study found age and extent of resection to be associated with increased TTS. Importantly, patients with TTS >28 days had reduced long-term survival.