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Surg Oncol. 2007 Dec;16(4):259-65. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Palliation of thoracic malignancies.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Ave, Room S-321, San Francisco, CA 94143-0470, USA.


The sequelae of advanced malignancies of the chest, whether primary or metastatic, can be severely debilitating. In this review, we discuss the advances in palliative treatment for several intrathoracic complications of malignancy. The treatment of malignant pleural and pericardial effusions now includes a range of chemical sclerosants and percutaneous or surgical interventions. A new generation of promising stent and ablation technologies allows for the treatment of intrinsic or extrinsic airway obstruction. Similar techniques are being explored for esophageal obstruction, while the possible benefit of palliative radiation and chemotherapy continues to be investigated. Although their symptoms are often severe, patients with advanced thoracic malignancies have a growing number and variety of palliative treatment options to improve their quality of life.

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