Surgical approach to pulmonary metastases from breast cancer

Witold Kycler, Piotr Laski
Breast Journal 2012, 18 (1): 52-7
One of the main characteristics of breast cancer is its capability to disseminate. Solitary pulmonary metastases from breast cancer occur rarely (0.4%). The aim of this study is to check whether or not the outcome following the surgical treatment of pulmonary metastases in patients with breast cancer is in accordance with the data in the literature and based on it to identify prognostic factors. We have reviewed retrospectively data for 33 patients who underwent 43 curative resections of breast cancer pulmonary metastases between 1997 and 2002 at our department. Potential prognostic factors affecting survival, namely survival after lung metastasectomy, assessed were disease-free interval (DFI), the number and location of lung metastases, the diameter in mm of metastases and the extent of pulmonary resection. The median survival for 33 patients with pulmonary breast cancer metastatic lesions after metastasectomy was 73.2 months. Mean 5-year survival was 54.5%. There was a statistically significant difference in survival time with better prognosis for patients with DFI > 36 months (p = 0.0007), complete metastasectomy (p = 0.0153), unilateral pulmonary metastases (p=0.0267) and for patients who underwent multiple operations (p = 0.0211). In multivariate analysis there was significant influence for long-term prognosis for patients with DFI > 36 months (p = 0.0446) and for complete resection of the metastases (p = 0.0275). Analysis of the survival rates for patients with solitary pulmonary metastasis, with different size of tumors and after different types of pulmonary resection showed no significant differences. It was concluded that resection of lung metastases from breast cancer may offer a significant survival benefit for selected patients. The identified prognostic factor for survival after metastasectomy is DFI longer than 36 months and complete resection of the metastases. In our group of patients, DFI longer than 36 months, unilateral pulmonary metastases and number of operations significantly influenced survival. Also, the results showed that lung metastasectomy by conventional surgery is a safe procedure with low perioperative morbidity and mortality rate.


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