Pancoast tumors: characteristics and preoperative assessment

J Thorac Dis. 2014 Mar;6 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S108-15. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2013.12.29.


Superior sulcus tumors (SSTs), or as otherwise known Pancoast tumors, make up a clinically unique and challenging subset of non-small cell carcinoma of the lung (NSCLC). Although the outcome of patients with this disease has traditionally been poor, recent developments have contributed to a significant improvement in prognosis of SST patients. The combination of severe and unrelenting shoulder and arm pain along the distribution of the eighth cervical and first and second thoracic nerve trunks, Horner's syndrome (ptosis, miosis, and anhidrosis) and atrophy of the intrinsic hand muscles comprises a clinical entity named as "Pancoast-Tobias syndrome". Apart NSCLC, other lesions may, although less frequently, result in Pancoast syndrome. In the current review we will present the main characteristics of the disease and focus on the preoperative assessment.

Keywords: Pancoast; lung cancer; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review