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Thorac Surg Clin. 2016 Feb;26(1):79-90. doi: 10.1016/j.thorsurg.2015.09.010.

Is Surgery Warranted for Oligometastatic Disease?

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Clinical Operational Research Unit, 4 Taviton Street, University College London, London WC1H 0BT, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Wales Cancer Trials Unit, 6th Floor, Neuadd Meirionnydd, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4YS, United Kingdom.


The development of metastases after curative treatment can be seen as a failure. A common justification for the removal of metastases is that the knowledge that they are there may cause psychological distress, a real symptom that may be relieved by their removal. Although it is a commonly used justification for metastasectomy, the authors are unaware of any studies confirming or quantifying the health gain. This article strongly challenges the belief in clinical effectiveness and demonstrates that it is supported neither by a sound biological rationale nor by any good evidence. Reasons are suggested why this unfounded belief has become so prevalent.


Ablation; Citation network analysis; Clinical effectiveness; Colorectal cancer; Lung metastasectomy

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