Clinical experience with tetracycline pleurodesis of malignant pleural effusions

South Med J. 1987 Jun;80(6):716-9. doi: 10.1097/00007611-198706000-00013.


Because many patients with malignant pleural effusions could survive for months to years beyond its onset, definitive management must be safe and effective. Chemical pleurodesis with tetracycline has gained general acceptance as the therapy of choice, even though no large series confirming this viewpoint has appeared in the literature. We reviewed 108 procedures involving tube thoracostomy and tetracycline pleurodesis, and report a success rate of 94.4% without serious complications. Considering all patients, 49% were symptom-free at three months, and 13% were alive one year later. Several potentially important changes in technique have emerged since the initial description of this procedure. With adherence to meticulous technique, tetracycline pleurodesis provides rapid, effective, and safe palliation of malignant pleural effusions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Palliative Care
  • Pleura / drug effects*
  • Pleural Effusion / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rotation
  • Tetracycline / administration & dosage*


  • Tetracycline