Pulmonary transplantation for advanced bronchioloalveolar carcinoma

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2003 Jan;125(1):45-8. doi: 10.1067/mtc.2003.72.


Background: No effective therapy is currently available for the diffuse stage of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma.

Objective: We tested the hypothesis that total lung replacement with standard lung transplantation techniques would provide curative therapy.

Methods: Nine patients aged 31 to 58 years with bronchioloalveolar carcinoma were entered in the study. Five patients initially had bilateral diffuse tumor. Four patients had recurrence in the contralateral lung after pulmonary resection.

Results: Between 1993 and 1998, all 9 patients underwent transplantation (2 single-lung and 7 bilateral transplants, 1 reoperative single-lung transplant, and 1 reoperative bilateral transplant). Two patients had mediastinal node metastasis (level 7) at the time of transplantation, and 1 of these had a frankly invasive adenocarcinoma. Of the 8 patients with pure bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, 6 had recurrent pulmonary tumor after transplantation. In 2 of these patients the tumor was localized and could be resected with left lower lobectomy in one case and left pneumonectomy in the other. One is alive 89 months after transplantation; the other died 82 months after transplantation. Four other patients had a diffuse pattern of pulmonary recurrence. Two died of progressive pulmonary failure; 1 of these had retransplantation with recurrence. A third patient died of cerebral edema shortly after bilateral retransplantation. The other patient is alive with recurrence 39 months after transplantation and has bronchiolitis obliterans. Two patients without recurrence are well with unrestricted performance levels 87 and 76 months after transplantation.

Conclusions: Transplantation produces a powerful palliative outcome in patients with advanced bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, but the recurrence rate is high. Transplantation for this indication remains controversial.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Palliative Care
  • Survival Rate