Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) for resection of metastatic adenocarcinoma as an acceptable alternative

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA.
Surgical Endoscopy (Impact Factor: 3.26). 09/2009; 23(9):1947-54. DOI: 10.1007/s00464-008-0243-z
Source: PubMed


Adenocarcinomas commonly metastasize to the lungs and can be resected using open thoracotomy or video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). This study reviews metastatic resections in primary adenocarcinoma patients, using both thoracotomy and VATS. We aim to compare long-term prognoses to test the efficacy and viability of VATS.
A retrospective review of primary adenocarcinoma patients who underwent resection of pulmonary metastases from 1990 to 2006 was carried out. Information was obtained by chart review. Endpoints analyzed were disease-free interval (DFI), survival time, and recurrence-free survival (RFS).
In a total of 42 (16 male, 26 female; median age 58.5 years) primary adenocarcinoma patients, 21 patients underwent first pulmonary metastatic resection using VATS (7 male, 14 female; median age 57 years) and 21 using thoracotomy (9 male, 12 female; median age 59 years). Primary adenocarcinomas were mainly 27 colorectal (64%) and 11 breast (26%). Two VATS (10%) and three open patients (14%) had local recurrences of the original cancer. Median postoperative follow was 13.3 months [interquartile range (IQR) 4.5-32.8 months] for VATS and 36.9 months (IQR 19.3-48.6 months) after thoracotomy. Median DFI-1 was 22.3 months (IQR 13.5-40.6 months) for VATS patients and 35.6 months (IQR 26.7-61.3 months) for open patients. Second thoracic occurrences were noted in six VATS patients (median DFI-2 9.2 months), and in seven open patients (median DFI-2 21.5 months). Third thoracic occurrences were noted in one VATS patient (DFI-3 18.7 months) and in one thoracotomy patient (DFI-3 21.8 months). Odds ratio of recurrence showed 12.5% less chance of developing recurrence in VATS patients. Five-year RFS was 53% in VATS and 57% in thoracotomy patients.
VATS has become a viable alternative to open thoracotomy for resection of pulmonary metastases. In cases of primary adenocarcinoma, VATS showed no increase in number of thoracic recurrences, and comparable RFS. Short-term follow-up is encouraging; long-term follow-up will be needed to confirm these results.

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