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Ann Surg Oncol. 2006 Nov;13(11):1538-44. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

Surgical management of pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer in 153 patients.

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Department of General Surgery, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Krankenhausstrasse 12, D-91054, Erlangen, Germany.



Surgery has become a recognized therapeutic means in selected patients with pulmonary metastases from colorectal origin. We reviewed our experience in the surgical treatment of 153 patients with pulmonary colorectal metastases and investigated factors affecting survival.


A retrospective analysis of the records of all patients (n = 153) with pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer who underwent thoracotomy between 1978 and 2003 at a single surgical center was performed.


One hundred fifty-three patients with pulmonary metastases from colon (n = 61) or rectal (n = 92) cancer underwent 180 thoracotomies. The 2- and 5-year probabilities of survival after the first thoracotomy were 64% and 37%, respectively. Sex, age, site, International Union Against Cancer stage of the primary tumor, prethoracotomy carcinoembryonic antigen level, size of metastases, and previous resection of hepatic metastases were not found to be statistically significant prognostic factors. Number of metastases (solitary vs. multiple), mode of operation (wedge vs. anatomical resection), disease-free interval (DFI; > 36 months), negative hilar or mediastinal lymph node status, resection margin > 10 mm, and administration of intraoperative blood substitution were predictors of a longer survival duration by univariate analysis, but only number of metastases (P = .019), mode of operation (P = .004), DFI (P = .027), and intraoperative blood substitution (P = .002) were identified as independent prognostic factors by multivariate analysis.


Pulmonary resection for metastases from colorectal cancer is safe and results in long-term survival in selected patients. Single metastases, anatomical resection, intraoperative blood substitution, and DFI > 36 months seem to be the most reliable predictors of survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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