Treatment of malignant pleural effusion with drainage, with and without instillation of talc

Eur J Respir Dis. 1984 Feb;65(2):131-5.


In order to determine whether pleural drainage with talc instillation was better than pleural drainage alone, in the treatment of malignant effusion, the present trial was initiated. Thirty-one patients with malignant pleural effusion and progressive disease, resistant to conventional therapy, were included. All patients had pleural drainage applied. After re-expansion of the lung, half of the patients had talc instilled through the chest tube. Twenty-one of the 31 treated patients were evaluable. After pleural drainage with talc instillation, all of 9 treated patients obtained complete resolution of the effusion and subjective improvement. After pleural drainage alone, 7 of 12 patients obtained complete resolution of the malignant effusion. If it is possible to re-expand the lung during pleural drainage in patients with a malignant pleural effusion, pleurodesis can be obtained in 60% of the treated patients with pleural drainage alone. This study showed a statistically significant improvement in the treatment associated with instillation of talc into the pleural cavity and this was achieved without causing increased discomfort to the patient.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pleural Effusion*
  • Random Allocation
  • Talc / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Talc