Results of superior vena cava resection for lung cancer: Analysis of prognostic factors

Lorenzo Spaggiari, Pierre Magdeleinat, Haruhiko Kondo, Pascal Thomas, Maria Elena Leon, Gilles Rollet, Jean Francois Regnard, Ryosuke Tsuchiya, Ugo Pastorino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The benefits of superior vena cava (SVC) resection for lung cancer remain controversial. Data obtained in four international centers were analyzed in order to identify prognostic factors and thus guide in future patient selection. Materials and methods: Retrospective study. Prognostic factors were examined by logistic regression for postoperative morbidity/mortality using the Kaplan-Meier method (log rank test) and the Cox proportional-hazard model for survival. Results: From 1963 to 2000, 109 patients underwent SVC resection. Induction treatment was given to 23 (21%) patients. The SVC was resected for T involvement in 78 (72%) cases and for N involvement in 31 (28%) cases. Fifty-five (50.5%) patients underwent pneumonectomy (20 with carinal resection), while the remaining underwent lobar resections. Prosthetic SVC replacement was performed in 28 (26%) patients; partial resection with running suture (53%), vascular stapler (13%), or patch (7%) was performed in 80 patients; 1 patient did not undergo reconstruction. Pathological examination identified direct involvement (T4) in 66 (60%) patients and N2 disease in 55 (50%) patients. Major postoperative morbidity and mortality were 30 and 12%, respectively. Median intensive care unit stay was 3 days, while median hospital stay was 16 days. Five-year survival was at 21%, with median survival at 11 months. In multiple regression analysis, induction treatment was associated with an increased risk of major complications (P=0.016). None of the factors assessed demonstrated an association with postoperative death. In multivariate survival analysis, both pneumonectomy and complete resection of the SVC with prosthetic replacement were associated with a significant increased risk of death (P=0.0013 and 0.014, respectively). Conclusions: The radical resection of lung cancer involving the SVC may result in a permanent cure in carefully selected patients. The type of pulmonary resection (i.e., pneumonectomy) and the type of SVC resection (i.e., complete resection with prosthetic replacement) are the prognostic factors with the greatest adverse effect on survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Extended resection
  • Lung cancer
  • Mediastinal surgery
  • Superior vena cava
  • Surgery
  • T4
  • Vascular surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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