Background: Extended pneumonectomy with partial resection of the left atrium for lung cancer is not frequently performed; therefore, its results remain controversial. The present study analyzed a single center's experience with this extended surgery, highlighting the surgery's technical aspects, postoperative outcomes, and oncologic results.
Methods: From November 1996 to December 2003, 15 patients underwent extended pneumonectomy with partial resection of the left atrium for lung cancer, without cardiopulmonary bypass.
Results: Of the 15 patients (median age of 63 years, range 35 to 74 years), 11 were men (73%) and 4 were women. Six patients (40%) underwent preoperative invasive mediastinal staging. Nine patients (60%) underwent induction chemotherapy. Nine patients (60%) underwent right pneumonectomy. Pathologic analysis of the specimens identified 8 patients (53%) with N2 disease, 5 patients (33%) with N1 disease, and 2 patients with N0 disease. The T status was T4 in 10 patients, pT3 in 3 patients, and T0 in the remaining 2 patients. The were 10 squamous cell carcinomas (60%), 2 adenocarcinomas, 1 adenosquamous carcinoma, 1 mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and 1 atypical carcinoid tumor. The median intensive care unit and hospital stay were 1 day and 6.4 days, respectively. There were only two (15.3%) minor postoperative complications (atrial arrhythmias), which were successfully treated medically. There was no postoperative mortality. At completion of the study, 9 patients (60%) were still alive, with 8 showing no evidence of disease. The remaining 6 patients died because of systemic recurrences. The 3-year probability of survival was 39%.
Conclusions: Extended pneumonectomy with partial resection of the left atrium for advanced lung cancer is a feasible procedure, with low postoperative morbidity and mortality. In fact, it can lead to excellent local control of the disease, if not to a permanent cure in select patients.