Comparison of intracavitary bleomycin and talc for control of pleural effusions secondary to carcinoma of the breast

Br J Surg. 1989 Dec;76(12):1266-7. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800761214.


In a prospective randomized study, patients with pleural effusions secondary to breast carcinoma were randomly allocated to be treated by pleurodesis using either intracavitary talc or bleomycin. For 25 assessable treatments in 22 patients, recurrence of effusion was observed in 5 of 15 (33 per cent) of the bleomycin group compared with none in the talc group. It is concluded that talc is superior to bleomycin in controlling pleural effusions secondary to breast carcinoma, but bleomycin may have a role in patients unfit for general anaesthesia or with extensive disease elsewhere.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Effusion / etiology
  • Pleural Effusion / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Talc / administration & dosage
  • Talc / therapeutic use*


  • Bleomycin
  • Talc