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, 17 (4), 354-64

Primary Tumors of the Thoracoabdominal Aorta: Surgical Treatment of 5 Patients and Review of the Literature


Primary Tumors of the Thoracoabdominal Aorta: Surgical Treatment of 5 Patients and Review of the Literature

Laurent Chiche et al. Ann Vasc Surg.


The objectives of this study were to describe five cases involving primary tumors of the thoracoabdominal aorta and to review the pertinent literature. Between April 1990 and April 2000, we performed surgery on five patients with primary tumors of the aorta (PTA). There were three men and two women ranging in age from 37 to 65 years (mean, 49.8 years). The presenting manifestations were renovascular hypertension in four cases, including three associated with abdominal angina and lower extremity embolism in one case. In all patients aortograms identified atherosclerotic-like occlusive lesions in the thoracoabdominal aorta extending to the descending thoracic aorta in three cases, visceral arteries in four cases, and infrarenal aorta in one case. Preoperative histological diagnosis of PTA was achieved in two patients following open repair with placement of an aortoaortic graft in one case and peripheral embolectomy in one case. In two cases, diagnosis of PTA was strongly suspected before or during the procedure. In the remaining case, diagnosis was not achieved until the definitive histological report. In two patients surgical treatment was carried out with curative intent (aortic resection with graft replacement). In two cases surgical treatment was incomplete (endarterectomy of the aorta and visceral arteries). In the remaining case surgical treatment was purely palliative (aortic and superior mesenteric artery bypass). Histological findings demonstrated intimal-type sarcoma in two cases, leiomyosarcoma in one case, and angiosarcoma in one case. In the remaining case, histological analysis was unfeasible for technical reasons. One patient died due to massive cerebral embolism 2 days after surgical treatment involving revascularization of the aortic arch carried out with hypothermic circulatory arrest. One patient developed secondary paraplegia. All four patients who survived the immediate postoperative period died of tumor-related complications and cachexia at 5, 7, 16, and 24 months after the initial surgical procedure. The results of this small series as well as those of 130 previously reported cases confirm the extremely dismal prognosis of PTA. Mean overall survival for patients presenting PTA was less than 16 months. Survival at 5 years was 8%. Survival rates appear to be higher after surgical treatment and were significantly improved by adjuvant chemotherapy. The main factors correlated with poor prognosis were intimal type, involvement of the ascending aorta, aortic arch, or visceral aorta, and incomplete resection.

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