Background: A pulmonary metastasectomy for colorectal carcinoma is a generally accepted procedure, although several prognostic predictors have been reported. The aim of this study is to define the patients who benefit from pulmonary metastasectomy for colorectal carcinoma.
Methods: Retrospective survival analysis was performed using 128 patients who underwent curative pulmonary resection.
Results: The overall 5-year survival rate was 45.3%. Univariate analysis showed the number of metastases, location (unilateral or bilateral), prethoracotomy carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level, hilar or mediastinal lymph-node metastasis, and Dukes' stage to be considerable prognostic factors. Among these, Dukes' A for the primary lesion and unilateral pulmonary metastasis were shown to be independent predictors of longer survival by multivariate analysis (p = 0.0093 and p = 0.0182, respectively). In patients treated with both pulmonary and hepatic metastastasectomies, a better prognosis was observed in those who received metachronous resection. Recurrence after a pulmonary metastasectomy frequently occurred in the thorax and the 3-year survival rate was 44.6% in patients who underwent a repeat thoracotomy.
Conclusions: Patients with unilateral metastasis and Dukes' A for the primary tumor benefit most from the resection of pulmonary metastasis from colorectal carcinoma. Further, the number of metastases, prethoracotomy CEA level, and hilar or mediastinal lymph-node involvement should be considered to determine the operative indication. Finally, periodic follow-up examinations for thoracic recurrence should be carefully performed as these patients may have a heightened risk of requiring a repeat thoracotomy.