Lung cancer with chest wall involvement: Predictive factors of long-term survival after surgical resection

Luca Voltolini, Cristian Rapicetta, Luca Luzzi, Claudia Ghiribelli, Tommaso Ligabue, Piero Paladini, Giuseppe Gotti

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Multimodal management of lung cancer extending to chest wall and type of surgical procedure to be performed are still debated. The aim of this retrospective analysis was to analyze the predictive factors of long-term survival after surgery, focusing on depth of infiltration, type of surgical intervention and possible role of preoperative therapies, comparing survival of these patients with that of a group of patients affected by a Pancoast tumour and surgical treated in the same period. Materials and methods: We reviewed records of 83 consecutive patients with NSCLC in stage T3 (owing to direct extension to chest wall), who underwent surgical resection in our Thoracic Surgery Unit between January 1994 and December 2003. Patients were classified in two groups: pancoast tumours (PT) or chest wall extending tumours (CW): survival and prognostic factors of each category were analyzed. Results: In the CW group we had 68 patients: 45 were in stage IIB (pT3N0), 23 in stage IIIA (pT3-N1-2). Histology revealed adenocarcinoma in 23 cases, squamous cell carcinoma in 34, large cells anaplastic carcinoma in 8, adenosquamous carcinoma in 3. An involvement of chest wall tissues beyond the endothoracic fascia was found in 21 patients, while in the remaining 47 the invasion of chest wall tissues was confined to the parietal pleura. An extrapleural dissection was performed in 48 patients while combined pulmonary and chest wall en bloc resection was required in 20 patients. Resection was incomplete in three cases. In the PT group we had 15 patients: 11 were in stage IIB and 4 in stage IIIA. Histological type was adenocarcinoma in 10 cases, squamous cell carcinoma in 4 and adenosquamous carcinoma in 1. A univariate analysis performed in the CW group showed that survival was significantly affected by nodal status, stage, extension of chest wall invasion, type of lung resection and residual disease. In a multivariate analysis we found that nodal status, completeness of resection and extension of chest wall involvement maintained a significant prognostic value. There was no difference between the survival curve of CW and PT group: considering the two subset of CW patients, on the basis of depth of infiltration, survival of PT patients was significantly better than that of CW patients with involvement of muscular tissues and ribs (p = 0.02). Conclusion: Nodal status, radical resection and depth of chest wall infiltration are the main predictive factors affecting long-term survival, while surgical procedure does not impact on it if margins of resection are free from disease. The better survival observed in PT patients let us to hypothesize that an induction chemo-radiation therapy, as routinely administered to PT patients, could have a potential benefit in survival of patients with CW tumour extending beyond parietal pleura.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Chest wall
  • Induction radiation-chemotherapy
  • Pancoast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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