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Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Jul;82(1):227-31.

Pneumonectomy after high-dose radiation and concurrent chemotherapy for nonsmall cell lung cancer.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.



Pneumonectomy after high-dose radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy has been associated with high operative mortality. Therefore, most induction protocols limit radiation to 5,000 cGy or less. Additionally, the safety of right pneumonectomy after induction therapy has been questioned. The feasibility of pneumonectomy after high-dose radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy is reviewed.


From 1990 to 2005, 30 patients with locally advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer underwent pneumonectomy after 5,940 cGy of radiation and two cycles of etoposide and cisplatin. To minimize postpneumonectomy pulmonary edema, patients were treated with a protocol that included fluid restriction and 48 hours of mechanical ventilation. Morbidity, mortality, and survival were examined.


There were 18 right and 12 left pneumonectomies. Death occurred in 4 patients (13.3%) but in only 1 (5.6%) after right pneumonectomy. Causes of death included aspiration, bronchopleural fistula, pneumonia, and massive pulmonary embolus. Major morbidity occurred in 5 (pneumonia in 2 and aspiration in 3). Median hospital stay was 9 days (range, 2 to 45), and intensive care unit stay was 2 days (range, 2 to 35). Median overall survival was 22 months with a 5-year survival of 33%. Patients surviving operation had a median survival of 33 months and a 5-year survival of 38%.


The mortality rate after pneumonectomy after high-dose radiation and concurrent chemotherapy is relatively high but results in significant survival. The mortality rate is not increased after right-sided operations. Pneumonectomy should continue to be offered to patients with advanced locoregional disease after induction high-dose radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy when a complete resection cannot be carried out with a lesser procedure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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