Korean J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg.  2020 Jun;53(3):114-120. 10.5090/kjtcs.2020.53.3.114.

The Role of Primary Tumor Resection in Patients with Pleural Metastasis Encountered at the Time of Surgery

  • 1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Evidence is lacking on whether the resection of lung parenchymal cancer improves the survival of patients with unexpected pleural metastasis encountered during surgery. We conducted a single-center retrospective study to determine the role of lung resection in the long-term survival of these patients.
Among 4683 patients who underwent lung surgery between 1995 and 2014, 132 (2.8%) had pleural metastasis. After excluding 2 patients who had incomplete medical records, 130 patients’ data were collected. Only a diagnostic pleural and/or lung biopsy was performed in 90 patients, while the lung parenchymal mass was resected in 40 patients.
The mean follow-up duration was 29.8 months. The 5-year survival rate of the resection group (34.7%±9.4%) was superior to that of the biopsy group (15.9%±4.3%, p=0.016). Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that primary tumor resection (p=0.041), systemic treatment (p<0.001), lower clinical N stage (p=0.018), and adenocarcinoma histology (p=0.009) were significant predictors of a favorable outcome. Interestingly, primary tumor resection only played a significant prognostic role in patients who received systemic treatment.
When pleural metastasis is unexpectedly encountered during surgical exploration, resection in conjunction with systemic treatment may improve long-term survival, especially in adenocarcinoma patients without lymph node metastasis.


Lung neoplasms; Non-small-cell lung carcinoma; Pleural metastasis
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