Pulmonary resection for metastases from colorectal cancer

T Sakamoto, N Tsubota, K Iwanaga, T Yuki, H Matsuoka, M Yoshimura
Chest 2001, 119 (4): 1069-72

BACKGROUND: We reviewed our experience in the surgical treatment of 47 patients with colorectal pulmonary metastases and investigated factors affecting their survival.

METHOD: From September 1986 to December 1999, 47 patients underwent 59 thoracotomies for pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer.

RESULTS: The median interval between colorectal resection and lung resection (disease-free interval [DFI]) was 33 months. Overall, 5-year survival was 48%. Five-year survival was 51% for patients with solitary metastasis (n = 30), 47% for patients with ipsilateral multiple metastases (n = 11), and 50% for patients with bilateral metastases (n = 6), and there were no significant differences. Five-year survival was 80.8% for 14 patients with DFI of < 2 years and 39.7% for 30 patients with a DFI of > 2 years (p = 0.22). Five-year survival for 11 patients with normal prethoracotomy carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels was 70%, and that for 26 patients with elevated prethoracotomy CEA levels (> 5 ng/mL) was 36% (p < 0.05). Eight patients had extrathoracic disease. The median survival time after pulmonary resection was 18.5 months, and the 5-year survival was 60%. A second resection for recurrent metastases was performed in five patients, and a third resection was done in one patient. All six patients are alive. The median survival of five patients who underwent a second thoracotomy was 22 months (range, 2 to 68 months), and one patient is alive 39 months after the third resection.

CONCLUSION: Pulmonary resection for metastases from colorectal cancer may help prolong survival in selected patients, even with bilateral lesions, recurrent metastasectomy, or extrathoracic disease. Prethoracotomy CEA level was found to be a significant prognostic factor.

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