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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2003 April;94(2):103-10


language: English

Endothoracic nodules in patients who underwent nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. Results of surgical resection

Loizzi M., Sollitto F., Sardelli P., De Palma A., Lopez C., Lacitignola A., Battaglia M., Selvaggi F. P.


Aim. A review of our experience with surgical resection of endothoracic nodules in patients who underwent nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is presented, to evaluate the incidence of metastases in our series and the effectiveness and the opportunity of surgical treatment in this sort of patients.
Methods. Between January 1988 and January 2002, 41 consecutive patients (33 men, 8 women) underwent resection for suspected endothoracic metastases from RCC; 1 more male patient for metastases from an occult renal cancer. Mean age was 62 y (range: 43-80 y). Mean time between nephrectomy and 1st pulmonary resection in 41 patients was 29 mo (range: 0-120 mo). Nineteen patients had solitary lesions, 11 multiple unilateral and 12 bilateral. Antero-lateral thoracotomy was performed in 37 patients, median sternotomy in 1, simultaneous bilateral thoracotomy (clam-shell) in 2, sterno-laparotomy in 1, thoracofrenolaparotomy in 1. Wedge excision was performed in 36 patients, lobectomy with lymphadenectomy in 5, mediastinal limphadenectomy in 1. Six patients had repeat resection for recurrent metastases.
Results. Only 24 patients (57%) had histologic diagnosis of pulmonary metastases from RCC; 11 (26%) had benign lesions; 7 (17%) primary lung cancer. Mean follow-up was 25 mo (range: 1-91 mo). Overall, 4-y survival was 50%. Patients with solitary metastasis had a lower survival than those with 4 and more lesions.
Conclusion. The evidence of pulmonary nodules in patients submitted to nephrectomy for RCC is not necessarily indicative of metastatic disease. Pulmonary resection for RCC metastases, even bilateral and recurrent, may help prolong survival in selected patients.

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