Skip to main content

17-06-2010 | Oncology | Article

Pulmonary metastasectomy may prolong breast cancer survival


Free abstract

MedWire News: Pulmonary metastasectomy is a reasonable treatment option for patients with breast cancer and a limited number of isolated lung metastases, study findings indicate.

“It is generally accepted that local treatment of primary or metastatic lesions, that is primary tumor resection or metastasectomy, provides no survival advantage once systemic metastasis has occurred,” say Do-Youn Oh (Seoul National University Hospital, Korea) and colleagues.

However, the benefit of local treatment in systemic metastasis is emerging for some kinds of malignancies, note the researchers.

In the present study, Oh and team reviewed the clinical outcomes for 45 patients with recurrent breast cancer and less than four lung metastases. The patients received systemic treatment alone (n=30) or pulmonary metastasectomy followed by systemic treatment (n=15).

The researchers report that patients in the pulmonary metastasectomy group had a significantly higher 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate, at 55%, than patients in the non-metastasectomy group, at 4.5%. Similarly, the 4-year overall survival rate was significantly higher for patients who underwent pulmonary metastasectomy compared with those who did not, at 82.1% versus 31.6%.

Multivariate analysis revealed that a disease-free interval (DFI) of less than 24 months (hazard ratio [HR]=5.43), no pulmonary metastasectomy (HR=9.52), and human epithelial growth factor receptor-2 positive (HR=3.00) and triple negative (HR=3.92) subtypes were independently associated with shorter PFS.

An extended analysis of the survival difference between patients with four or more metastases (n=95) and those with less than four metastases revealed that patients with less than four metastases who underwent pulmonary metastasectomy had a significantly longer PFS than patients with four or more metastases, regardless of whether the latter group underwent metastasectomy or not.

Writing in the journal Cancer, Oh and co-authors conclude: “Pulmonary metastasectomy can be a reasonable treatment option in patients with a small volume of metastasis despite poor prognosis characteristics.”

“Further prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the role of pulmonary metastasectomy,” they add.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Laura Dean

Related topics