Anticancer Research. 2012 Nov;32(11):5071-4. [Link]

Lumachi F, Mazza F, Ermani M, Chiara GB, Basso SM.

Department of Surgical, Oncological and Gastroenterological Sciences (DiSCOG), University of Padua, School of Medicine, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy.


Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is common in most patients with advanced cancer, especially in those with lung cancer, metastatic breast carcinoma and lymphoma. This complication usually leads patients to suffer from significant dyspnea, which may impair their mobility and reduce their quality of life. In patients with MPE, several interventions have been shown to be useful for palliation of the symptoms, including talc pleurodesis. The aim of this study was to evaluate prognostic factors for survival of patients with symptomatic MPE who underwent palliative video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) talc pleurodesis. Thirty-five patients with MPE underwent VATS, evacuation of the pleural fluid and talc pleurodesis with large-particle talc. There were 22 (62.9%) males and 13 (37.1%) females, with an overall median age of 69 years (range 42-81 years). The main causes of MPE were non-small cell lung carcinoma, breast or ovarian cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. The age did not differ (p=0.88) between men (68.6±11.6 years) and women (68.0±8.7 years). The mean quantity of pleural effusion was 2005.7±1078.9 ml, while the overall survival was 11.2±8.9 months. We did not find any relationship between survival and gender (log-rank test, p=0.53) or underlying malignancy associated with MPE (p=0.89, 0.48 and 0.36 for secondary cancer, lung cancer and mesothelioma, respectively). Similarly, no correlation was found between survival and age of the patients (Cox’s regression, p=0.44) or quantity of pleural effusion (p=0.88). Our results show that the prognosis of patients after talc pleurodesis is independent of age, gender, type of malignancy and amount of pleural effusion, thus, suggesting the utility of treating all patients with symptomatic MPE early.