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The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 87  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1684 - 1688

Prognostic Factors for Recurrence After Pulmonary Resection of Colorectal Cancer Metastases

M. W Onaitis, R. P Petersen, J. C Haney, L Saltz, B Park, R Flores, N Rizk, M. S Bains, J Dycoco, T. A D`Amico, D. H Harpole, N Kemeny, V. W Rusch and R. Downey    

Abstract: Background

This study was undertaken to review a large series of resections of colorectal pulmonary metastases in the era of modern chemotherapy.


A retrospective chart review of prospectively maintained thoracic surgery databases identified 378 patients who underwent pulmonary resection for colorectal cancer metastases with curative intent from 1998 to 2007.


The primary site of disease was rectum (52%), left colon (26%), right colon (16%), and unknown (6%). Before thoracic recurrence, 166 patients (44%) had previously undergone resection of extrathoracic metastases. Median disease-free interval (DFI) was 24 months from the time of the primary operation. The number of metastatic deposits resected was one in 60%, two in 20%, three in 10%, and four or more in 10%. Chemotherapy was administered to 87 patients (23%) before resection and to 169 patients (45%) after resection. Three-year recurrence-free survival was 28%, and 3-year overall survival was 78%. Multivariable analysis revealed age younger than 65 years, female sex, DFI less than 1 year, and number of metastases greater than three as independent predictors of recurrence. Of 44 patients with three or more lesions and less than 1 year DFI, none was cured by operation. By contrast, recurrence-free survival was 49% at 3 years for those with one lesion and DFI greater than 1 year.


Age younger than 65 years, female sex, DFI less than 1 year, and number of metastases greater than three predict recurrence. Medical management alone should be considered standard for patients who have both three or more pulmonary metastases and less than 1 year DFI.

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