Efficacy and Safety of Indwelling Catheter for Malignant Pleural Effusions Related to Timing of Cancer Therapy: A Systematic Review

Arch Bronconeumol. 2023 Sep;59(9):566-574. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2023.06.007. Epub 2023 Jun 23.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: To compare the efficacy and safety of indwelling pleural catheters (IPC) in relation with the timing of systemic cancer therapy (SCT) (i.e., before, during, or after SCT) in patients with malignant pleural effusion (MPE).

Methods: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCT), quasi-controlled trials, prospective and retrospective cohorts, and case series of over 20 patients, in which the timing of IPC insertion in relation to that of SCT was provided. Medline (via PubMed), Embase, and Cochrane Library were systematically searched from inception to January 2023. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias (ROB) tool for RCTs and the ROB in non-randomized studies of interventions (ROBINS-I) for non-randomized designs.

Results: Ten studies (n=2907 patients; 3066 IPCs) were included. Using SCT while the IPC was in situ decreased overall mortality, increased survival time, and improved quality-adjusted survival. Timing of SCT had no effect on the risk of IPC-related infections (2.85% overall), even in immunocompromised patients with moderate or severe neutropenia (relative risk 0.98 [95%CI: 0.93-1.03] for patients treated with the combination of IPC and SCT). The inconsistency of the results or the lack of analysis of all outcome measures in relation to the SCT/IPC timing precluded drawing solid conclusions about time to IPC removal or need of re-interventions.

Conclusions: Based on observational evidence, the efficacy and safety of IPC for MPE does not seem to vary depending on the IPC insertion timing (before, during, or after SCT). The data most likely support early IPC insertion.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Efficacy; Indwelling pleural catheter; Malignant pleural effusion; Safety.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections* / etiology
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant* / therapy
  • Pleurodesis / methods
  • Retrospective Studies