Is there a role for pneumonectomy in pulmonary metastases?

Heng Nung Koong, Ugo Pastorino, Robert J. Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Although sublobar and lobar resections are accepted operations for pulmonary metastases, pneumonectomy is viewed as a major incursion on Stage IV patients. We considered it important to ascertain the current results of pneumonectomy for pulmonary metastases since little information is available. Methods. Of the 5,206 patients with pulmonary metastasectomy reported by the International Registry of Lung Metastases, 133 (3%) underwent primary, and 38 (1%) completion pneumonectomy between 1962 and 1994. Data were analyzed to determine the operative mortality rates, survival rates, and determinants of survival. Results. Primary pneumonectomy was performed for metastatic disease mainly from epithelial (49%, 65 of 133) and sarcomatous (33%, 43 of 133) tumors. Indications were central lesion, eg, proximal endobronchial or hilar nodal metastases. Operative mortality was 4% (4 of 112) and a 5-year survival rate of 20% was achieved following complete resection (R0) in 112 patients. In contrast, the 21 incompletely resected patients had an operative mortality rate of 19% (4 of 21), and the majority did not survive beyond 2 years (p = 0.02). Survival was determined by the completeness of resection and not histology of the primary tumor, number of metastases, nodal status, and disease-free interval. In the 38 completion pneumonectomy patients, 35 were operated for recurrent disease and 3 for residual disease. Sarcomatous secondaries predominated in 28 patients. Complete resection was achieved in 31 patients (82%). The operative mortality rate was 3% (1 of 38 patients) and the 5-year survival rate was 30%. Conclusions. Pneumonectomies for pulmonary metastases, albeit infrequently performed, were associated with acceptable operative mortality and long-term survival when performed in selected patients amenable to complete resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2043
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery

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