Treatment of malignant superior vena cava syndrome by endovascular stent insertion. Experience on 52 patients with lung cancer

A Urruticoechea, R Mesía, J Domínguez, C Falo, E Escalante, A Montes, C Sancho, F Cardenal, M Majem, J R Germà
Lung Cancer: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2004, 43 (2): 209-14

BACKGROUND: Superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) is a frequent presentation of malignancies involving the mediastinum and can seriously compromise treatment options and prognosis. Stenting of superior vena cava is a well-known but not so commonly used technique to alleviate this syndrome.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between August 1993 and December 2000 we performed 52 stenting procedures in patients affected by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

RESULTS: Phlebographic resolution of the obstruction was achieved in 100% of cases with symptomatic and subjective improvement in more than 80%. One major complication was observed due to bleeding during anticoagulation. Re-obstruction of the stent occurred in only 17% of the cases, the majority due to disease progression. Improvement of the syndrome allowed hydration necessary for full dose platinum treatment when indicated in patients affected by lung cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Stenting of the superior vena cava syndrome is a safe and effective procedure achieving a rapid alleviation of symptoms in almost all patients, and allowing for full dose treatment in lung cancer patients. This procedure could change the traditional poorer prognosis attributed to non-small cell lung cancer patients presenting with this syndrome.

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