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J Thorac Oncol. 2008 Nov;3(11):1257-66. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31818bd9da.

Pulmonary metastasectomy: a survey of current practice amongst members of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospitals of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.



Currently, no randomized trials exist to guide thoracic surgeons in the field of pulmonary metastasectomy. This study investigates the current clinical practice among European Society of Thoracic Surgeon (ESTS) members.


A Web-based questionnaire was created exploring the clinical approach to lung metastasectomy. All ESTS members were surveyed.


One hundred forty-six complete responses were received from the 494 consultant ESTS members surveyed (29.6%). For most respondents (68%), lung metastasectomy represents a minor proportion (0-10%) of their clinical volume. Approximately 90% of respondents always/usually review their lung metastasectomy cases within a multidisciplinary meeting. Helical computed tomography is most commonly used (74%) for the detection of metastases, while positron emission tomography is used additionally in less than 50%. Most of respondents (92% and 74%, respectively) consider unresectable primary tumor and predicted incomplete metastasectomy as absolute contraindications to lung metastasectomy. The most frequently performed resection is wedge excision (92%). Palpation of the lung is considered necessary by 65%, while 40% use a thoracoscopic approach with therapeutic intent. Though 65% consider pathologically positive nodes a contraindication to metastasectomy, a similar number rarely/never perform mediastinoscopy before metastasectomy. At the time of metastasectomy 55% perform mediastinal lymph node sampling whereas 33% perform no nodal dissection whatsoever.


The survey provides a large, time-sensitive database summarizing the clinical practice of pulmonary metastasectomy by members of the ESTS. Responses demonstrate a remarkable consistency of practice patterns, though certain areas of potential controversy showed greater variance. Conceivably, these divergent approaches will encourage future collaborative studies aimed at identifying evidence-based practices for patients with pulmonary metastases.

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