Chest wall resection for invasive lung carcinoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and other types of malignancy. Pathologic aspects in a series of 107 patients

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2004 Aug;8(4):198-206. doi: 10.1053/j.anndiagpath.2004.04.002.


With improvements in surgical techniques for resection and reconstruction of the chest wall, pathologists are confronted with complicated surgical specimens. There are no currently available guidelines specifically dedicated to the handling of these specimens. Extended resections of lung carcinoma chest wall invasions may change the clinical value of some TNM subsets. We reviewed a series of 107 consecutive malignant tumors involving the chest wall and resected in our institution during a 3-year period. The 107 patients included 39 females and 68 males aged 6 to 80 years (mean, 53 years). Ninety-eight cases (92%) were en bloc resection. There were 55 invasions by lung carcinomas including 19 Pancoast tumors. With the current TNM classification, five lung carcinomas, treated with vertebral body resection because of vertebral foramina invasion, were T3. Four lung carcinomas were N3 or M1 only because of supraclavicular or chest wall lymph node invasion. Other tumors included 20 primary soft-tissue tumors, 13 primary skeletal tumors, 12 metastases, four local invasions by breast tumors, and three miscellaneous lesions. Resected structures included one to six ribs (mean, 2.6; n = 89), thoracic inlet (n = 24), three or four vertebral bodies (n = 13), sternum (n = 17), clavicles (n = 15), shoulder blade (n = 4), upper limb (n = 2), skin (n = 29), lung (n = 64), diaphragm (n = 2), and mediastinum (n = 2). Ten cases were incomplete resections including five because of vertebral body or vertebral foramina tumor invasion. The study of surgical specimens resulting from resection of malignant tumors of the chest wall is complicated because of the variety of both tumor histologic types and involved anatomic structures. Specimen radiograms have a great informative value. Assessment of surgical margins, especially vertebral foramina, is imperative. In lung carcinomas invading the chest wall, we suggest that vertebral foramina invasion could be classified T4 and that the prognostic value of chest wall lymph nodes isolated invasions should be assessed for a possible N1 classification.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / surgery*
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures*
  • Thoracic Wall / pathology
  • Thoracic Wall / surgery*