Splenectomy for splenic metastases: a changing clinical spectrum

Am Surg. 2000 Sep;66(9):837-40.


Splenic metastases from solid tumors are unusual with only scattered case reports of patients treated with splenectomy before 1987. We conducted a retrospective chart review at our large tertiary-care private teaching hospital between January 1990 and September 1999 and found splenic metastases in 31 patients. In eight patients (26%), the spleen was the only site of metastatic disease. Of the 31 splenectomies for metastases, 23 were performed for ovarian neoplasms, five during primary operative procedures, and 18 during secondary cytoreductive procedures or explorations for late recurrences at an average of 3.9 years after the original operation. Nearly half of the metastases (15 of 31) appeared entirely within the splenic parenchyma, representing probable hematogenous spread, whereas seven involved both the splenic parenchyma and capsule and nine involved the capsule only. Between 1990 and 1999 we identified a statistically significant increase in use of splenectomy for treatment of metastatic tumor with a Spearman rank correlation value of 0.86 (P < 0.05). Most of this increase was attributable to ovarian cancer cases and may be due to expansion of treatment options or improved imaging methods. We report the largest series of splenectomy for splenic metastases and the ninth case report in the world literature of splenectomy for isolated splenic metastasis due to colorectal cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, Private
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splenectomy*
  • Splenic Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Splenic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Survival Rate