Background: Data addressing the outcomes and patterns of recurrence after pulmonary metastasectomy (PM) in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and previously resected liver metastasis are limited.
Methods: We searched the PubMed database for studies assessing PM in CRC and gathered individual data for patients who had PM and a previous curative liver resection. The influence of potential factors on overall survival (OS) was analyzed through univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results: Between 1983 and 2009, 146 patients from five studies underwent PM and had previous liver resection. The median interval from resection of liver metastasis until detection of lung metastasis and the median follow-up from PM were 23 and 48 months, respectively. Five-year OS and recurrence-free survival rates calculated from the date of PM were 54.4 and 29.3 %, respectively. Factors predicting inferior OS in univariate analysis included thoracic lymph node (LN) involvement and size of largest lung nodule ≥2 cm. Adjuvant chemotherapy and whether lung metastasis was detected synchronous or metachronous to liver metastasis had no influence on survival. In multivariate analysis, thoracic LN involvement emerged as the only independent factor (hazard ratio 4.86, 95 % confidence interval 1.56–15.14, p = 0.006).
Conclusions: PM offers a chance for long-term survival in selected patients with CRC and previously resected liver metastasis. Thoracic LN involvement predicted poor prognosis; therefore, significant efforts should be undertaken for adequate staging of the mediastinum before PM. In addition, adequate intraoperative LN sampling allows proper prognostic stratification and enrollment in novel adjuvant therapy trials.
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