A randomised trial of intrapericardial bleomycin for malignant pericardial effusion with lung cancer (JCOG9811)

Br J Cancer. 2009 Feb 10;100(3):464-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604866. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


Safety and efficacy of intrapericardial (i.p.c.) instillation of bleomycin (BLM) following pericardial drainage in patients with malignant pericardial effusion (MPE) remain unclear. Patients with pathologically documented lung cancer, who had undergone pericardial drainage for MPE within 72 h of enrolment, were randomised to either arm A (observation alone after drainage) or arm B (i.p.c. BLM at 15 mg, followed by additional i.p.c. BLM 10 mg every 48 h). The drainage tube was removed when daily drainage was 20 ml or less. The primary end point was survival with MPE control (effusion failure-free survival, EFFS) at 2 months. Eighty patients were enrolled, and 79 were eligible. Effusion failure-free survival at 2 months was 29% in arm A and 46% in arm B (one-sided P=0.086 by Fisher's exact test). Arm B tended to favour EFFS, with a hazard ratio of 0.64 (95% confidence interval: 0.40-1.03, one-sided P=0.030 by log-rank test). No significant differences in the acute toxicities or complications were observed. The median survival was 79 days and 119 days in arm A and arm B, respectively. This medium-sized trial failed to show statistical significance in the primary end point. Although ipc BLM appeared safe and effective in the management of MPE, the therapeutic advantage seems modest.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage
  • Bleomycin / adverse effects
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pericardial Effusion / complications
  • Pericardial Effusion / drug therapy*
  • Pericardium
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin