Sternal resection for primary or secondary tumors

M. Incarbone, M. Nava, C. Lequaglie, G. Ravasi, U. Pastorino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methods: From January 1980 to December 1993, 52 patients underwent surgical resection for tumors involving the sternum. The series included 20 primary malignant tumors, 4 desmoid tumors, 2 malignant tumors infiltrating the sternum from adjacent organs, 19 local recurrences or metastases of breast tumors, and 7 metastases of other tumors. Total sternectomy was performed in 5 patients, subtotal sternal resection in 19, and partial resection (less than 50% of the sternum) in 28. Concurrent en bloc resection included anterior ribs in 37 patients, clavicle in 11, tung in 12 patients, pericardium in 7, and diaphragm in 2. The chest was reconstructed with prosthetic material and a myocutaneous flap in 26 patients (50%), prosthetic material only in 12 patients (23%), a myocutaneous flap in 5 patients (10%), and other techniques in the remaining patients. In 47 patients (90%) the resection was radical, and in the remaining 5 patients it was palliative. Results: No perioperative deaths occurred. After a median follow-up of 39 months, the overall 3-year survival was 58% and the 5-year survival 46%, with a median survival of 50 months. In 24 patients with primary tumor the 5-year survival after radical resection was 63%, and in 23 patients with secondary invasion (direct extension or metastasis) the 5-year survival was 38% (median 35 months). In recurrent breast cancer the 5-year survival was 48% in patients with direct extension to the chest wall and 60% in patients with distant bone metastasis. Conclusions: Our experience demonstrates that sternal resection is a safe and effective treatment, which may improve the patient's quality of life and achieve a long-term survival not only in primary tumors but also in selected secondary malignant tumors of the sternum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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