Use of Tunneled Pleural Catheters in Malignant Mesothelioma

Journal of Bronchology. 12(4):203-206, October 2005. [Link]

Tremblay, Alain MDCM, FRCPC, FCCP *; Patel, Milan MD +; Michaud, Gaetane MD, FRCPC, FCCP *


Abstract: Introduction: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an incurable cancer for which effective palliation of dyspnea caused by pleural effusion is an important goal of treatment. Treatment of MPE associated with MM has been reported to have lower success rates than that associated with other tumors. We report our experience using tunneled pleural catheters (TPC) in the treatment of pleural effusions associated with MM.

Method: This study was a retrospective analysis of a prospective TPC database in a single institution.

Results: Thirty-one TPC procedures in 26 patients with MM were analyzed and compared with a control group (CG) of 218 procedures (195 patients) with malignant effusions from other tumors. Dyspnea control in the MM group was found to be complete and partial after 12 (38.7%) and 17 (54.8%) procedures, respectively, not significantly different than for the CG. Rates of spontaneous pleurodesis, need for repeat procedures, and complications were no different in MM versus CG. TPC remained in place longer in patients with MM than in the CG (83 vs. 52 days), likely as a result of longer survival.

Conclusion: TPC are as effective in patients with MM as in other patients with malignant pleural effusions. Use of TPC should be considered for the palliation of malignant pleural effusions associated with MM.