Impact of limited pulmonary function on the management of resectable lung cancer

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Aims: Limited pulmonary function (LPF) related to obstructive disease and emphysema or due to significant lung toxicity resulting from chemotherapy regimens are frequent co-morbidity factors in lung cancer patients. Purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency of LPF in lung cancer and its impact of on surgical eligibility and postoperative outcome. Materials and methods: We analyzed a series of 255 consecutive patients with otherwise resectable lung cancer, admitted to our department between January 1998 and December 1999. Patients were considered affected by LPF if their forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1%) and/or diffusing lung capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO%) was less than 50% of predicted normal values. Perioperative mortality, major and minor complications were analysed according to lung function status. Results: A total of 42 (16.5%) patients presented with significant limitations of the pulmonary function (LPF). Of these, 11 (26%) cases were excluded from surgery because of the severity of pulmonary disease. In the group of 244 patients who underwent surgery, the 31 LPF cases showed a slightly higher frequency of preoperative induction therapies (42 vs. 30%) and sublobar resections (33 vs. 8%) in comparison with the other 213 resected cases. However, no difference was observed in median hospital stay (7 days in both groups), major morbidity (13 vs. 11%) or mortality (0 vs. 1.4%). Conclusions: A strict and careful selection of patients, guided by concurrent analysis of different functional tests, allowed to offer surgery with a very low complication rate to the majority of patients with limited pulmonary function. A volume reduction effect was evident in selected patients with severe emphysema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2003


  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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