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Ann Thorac Surg. 1990 Jan;49(1):69-77.

Primary tracheal tumors: treatment and results.

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General Thoracic Surgical Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


One hundred ninety-eight patients with primary tracheal tumors were evaluated in 26 years. One hundred forty-seven tumors were excised (74%): 132 (66%) by resection and primary reconstruction, seven by laryngotracheal resection or cervicomediastinal exenteration, and eight by staged procedures. Eleven more were explored. Forty-four squamous cell carcinomas were resected, 60 adenoid cystic, and 43 assorted tumors, benign and malignant. Eighty-two patients underwent tracheal resection with primary reconstruction, and 50 had carinal resection and reconstruction. Surgical mortality for resection with primary reconstruction was 5%, with one death after tracheal and six after carinal repair. Six patients had stenosis after tracheal or carinal resection; all underwent reresection successfully. Nearly all patients with squamous or adenoid cystic carcinoma were irradiated postoperatively. Twenty of 41 survivors of resection of squamous cell carcinoma are living free of disease (some for more than 25 years), 39 of 52 with adenoid cystic carcinoma (up to nearly 19 years), and 35 of 42 with other lesions (5 lost to follow-up). Comparison of length of survival of patients with squamous cell carcinoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma who are alive without disease with those who died with carcinoma supports surgical treatment (usually followed by irradiation). Positive lymph nodes or invasive disease at resection margins appear to have an adverse effect on cure of squamous cell carcinoma; such an effect is not demonstrable with adenoid cystic carcinoma.

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