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Lung Cancer. 2001 Oct;34(1):75-81.

The prognostic significance of malignant pleural effusion at the time of thoracotomy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Otsu Red-Cross Hospital, 1-1-35 Nagara, Otsu-City 520-8511, Japan.


Surgery is usually not indicated for malignant pleural effusion (PE) due to its poor prognosis. However, PE is first detected at thoracotomy, and it is difficult to judge an appropriate mode of resection. Forty-nine patients with lung cancer were first diagnosed as PE and/or pleural dissemination (PD) at thoracotomy. The histological types were 36 adenocarcinoma, ten squamous cell carcinoma and three large cell carcinoma. Sixteen patients had only PE, 17 had only PD, and 16 had both PE and PD. Ten patients underwent only exploratory thoracotomy, seven partial resection, 27 lobectomy and five panpleuropneumonectomy. The overall survival rate was 26.7% at 3 years. The patients with PE and/or PD seemed to have a poorer survival compared to our previous study. The patients with only PE showed a significantly better prognosis than the patients with only PD (P=0.0001) or with PD+PE (P=0.019). The patients who underwent exploratory thoracotomy showed poor survival. There were significant differences in the survival in relation to the extent of the primary tumor. In conclusion, the patients with T1-2 of primary tumor and only a small amount of PE without PD can be expected to show long-term survival after tumor resection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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