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Oncologist. 2012;17(11):1430-8. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2012-0142. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

The role of lung metastasis resection in improving outcome of colorectal cancer patients: results from a large retrospective study.

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Oncology Unit, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torino, San Luigi di Orbassano, Italy.



The role of surgery for lung metastases (LM) secondary to colorectal cancer (CRC) remains controversial. The bulk of evidence is derived from single surgical series, hampering any definitive conclusions. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes of CRC patients with LM submitted to surgery with those who were not.


Data from 409 patients with LM as the first evidence of advanced disease were extracted from a database of 1,411 patients. Patients were divided into three groups: G1, comprised of 155 patients with pulmonary and extrapulmonary metastases; G2, comprised of 104 patients with LM only and no surgery; G3, comprised of 50 patients with LM only and submitted to surgery.


No difference in response rates emerged between G1 and G2. Median progression-free survival (PFS) times were: 10.3 months, 10.5 months, and 26.2 months for G1, G2, and G3, respectively. No difference in PFS times was observed between G1 and G2, whereas there was a statistically significant difference between G2 and G3. Median overall survival times were 24.2 months, 31.5 months, and 72.4 months, respectively. Survival times were longer in resected patients: 17 survived >5 years and three survived >10 years. In patients with LM only and no surgery, four survived for 5 years and none survived >10 years.


Even though patients with resectable LM are more likely to be those with a better outcome, our study provides evidence suggesting an active role of surgery in improving survival outcomes in this patient subset.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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