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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 May;19(5):589-93.

Primary chest wall tumors: early and long-term results of surgical treatment.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Evangelismos General Hospital, Hellas, Athens, Greece. kalliopiath@iname.com



A retrospective study of primary chest wall tumors (PCWTs/CWTs) was conducted to review their clinical, radiological and pathological features, as well as the early and long-term results of surgical management.


From 1986 through 1996, 41 patients (18/44% male, 23/56% female, aged 15-78 years) with PCWTs were treated in our department.


Twenty-three patients (nine male, 14 female, mean age 36 years) had a benign CWT: enchondroma, five patients; fibrous dysplasia, four patients; neurilemmoma, three patients; osteochondroma, two patients; granular cell tumor, two patients; fibroma, two patients; lipoma, two patients; fibrolipoma, one patient; eosinophilic granuloma, one patient; aneurysmal bone cyst, one patient. Eighteen patients (nine male, nine female, mean age 59 years) had a malignant CWT: plasmacytoma, five patients; chondrosarcoma, two patients; osteosarcoma, two patients; fibrosarcoma, two patients; desmoid tumor, two patients; leiomyosarcoma, one patient; malignant fibrous histiocytoma, one patient; tendon sheath sarcoma, one patient; hemangiosarcoma, one patient; neurinosarcoma, one patient. The ribs were involved in 21 patients, the sternum in five patients, and the soft tissue in 17 patients. Distinction between benign and malignant CWT was not possible using radiographic criteria alone, and diagnosis was always confirmed histologically. Surgical treatment consisted of wide resection in 29 patients (15 benign/14 malignant CWTs), with the use of synthetic mesh in five cases, and excisional or incisional biopsy in 12 patients. There was no perioperative mortality. Two patients with a benign CWT (fibroma, one patient; neurilemmoma, one patient) had a local recurrence at 13 and 26 months after resection, respectively, and underwent wide resection (recurrence rate 8.7%). Follow-up at 3-13 years revealed one non-tumor-related death in patients with benign CWT (overall mortality rate 4.3%) and no other local recurrence. The overall 5- and 10-year survival in patients with malignant CWT was 33.3%.


We believe that all CWTs should be considered malignant until proven otherwise. Wide resection with tumor-free margins is required in order to provide the best chance for cure in both benign and malignant lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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