A comprehensive review of spontaneous pneumothorax complicating sarcoma

Chest. 2010 Sep;138(3):510-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.09-2292. Epub 2010 Apr 9.


Background: Spontaneous pneumothorax (SPTX) is an uncommon phenomenon in the general population and is most commonly associated with prior bulbous emphysema, cystic parenchymal lung disease, and tuberculous lung disease. A rare cause of SPTX is malignant disease, either in the form of primary lung or pleural cancers, or in metastatic disease to the lungs. The purpose of this investigation was to compile patient characteristics, treatments received, and outcomes of patients with SPTX complicating sarcomatous cancer.

Methods: Case reports and series published in the medical literature were identified through a MEDLINE search and compiled to determine similarities among patient characteristics, treatments received, and outcomes.

Results: One hundred fifty-three cases representing 20 different sarcoma cell types were included; 126 (82.3%) had received some form of treatment prior to the development of pneumothorax, and 70 (45.7%) experienced recurrence of pneumothorax at an average of 61 (+/- 112) days. Patients had poor survival, with only seven of 81 subjects remaining alive 2 years after the initial diagnosis of SPTX.

Conclusions: SPTX complicating sarcoma is associated with most cell types and is associated with increased mortality compared with patients without this complication.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pleural Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pneumothorax / diagnosis
  • Pneumothorax / etiology*
  • Pneumothorax / therapy
  • Sarcoma / complications*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / therapy