Impact of systemic steroid treatment on talc pleurodesis: a report of six cases

J Pharm Health Care Sci. 2020 Jul 3;6:15. doi: 10.1186/s40780-020-00171-x. eCollection 2020.


Background: Instillation of sterile graded talc in the pleural space is performed to prevent reaccumulation of malignant pleural effusion after drainage. Talc is thought to encourage pleural adhesions as part of the repair process by provoking inflammation, suggesting that adhesions are less likely to form in patients taking corticosteroids or other drugs with anti-inflammatory effects. However, the relationship between steroid therapy and pleurodesis efficacy remains unclear.

Case presentation: We report the outcomes of six patients who underwent pleurodesis at Hiroshima University Hospital while being treated with systemic steroid therapy for non-cancer-related illnesses. Talc pleurodesis was successful at the first attempt in five of the six patients. The five successful cases were receiving low-dose oral prednisolone or methyl prednisolone (range, 1-20 mg/day) at the time of pleurodesis and had serum albumin levels ranging from 2.2 to 3.0 g/dL. In contrast, the patient in whom pleurodesis was unsuccessful was receiving a higher dose of prednisolone (40 mg/day) intravenously and had a relatively low serum album level (1.7 g/dL).

Conclusions: The outcome of pleurodesis may be affected by the dose and/or route of systemic steroid therapy. Further analysis with more patients will be necessary to clarify the relationship between steroid dosage and talc pleurodesis success rate.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory effects; Pleurodesis; Sterile graded talc; Steroids.

Publication types

  • Case Reports