Superior sulcus tumor (SST): management at the Institute of Oncology in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1981-1994

Lung Cancer. 1997 Jul;17(2-3):249-59. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5002(97)00659-4.


During the 14-year period under study, 48 patients with SST were treated at the Institute of Oncology in Ljubljana, Slovenia. There were 46 males and two females, aged 29-88 years (median, 60 years). Of 37 cytologically or histologically confirmed tumors, 12 were squamous, eight large-cell, one small-cell, eight adeno, and eight unclassified carcinomas. Performance status (Karnofsky) was assessed as > 90 in eight, 70-90 in 31 and < 70 in nine patients. The duration of symptoms before diagnosis ranged from 1 to 36 months (median, 5 months). All patients had pain, while six also had hemophthysis, 14 Horner's syndrome, and four Horner's syndrome and upper limb paresis. Before the first chest X-ray, 19 patients- were treated for shoulder pain by different specialists. Apical tumor infiltration only on the chest X-ray was found in 13, destruction of the ribs in 31, and destruction of the ribs and vertebral bodies in four patients. Treatment was as follows: radiotherapy in 39 patients (22 with radical, 17 with palliative dose), a combination of surgery and radiotherapy in seven, radiotherapy and chemotherapy in one, and symptomatic therapy alone in one patient. One- and four-year survival of all treated patients was 27% and 11%, respectively. One of the seven patients operated on survived for 44 months, and 2/39 irradiated ones survived for 37 and 56 months, respectively, while others died within 24 months from diagnosis. In 81% of patients the pain was subdued after radiotherapy. The disease-specific survival of all patients included in the follow-up correlated with performance status and M stage, while that of those treated by irradiation alone correlated with tumor dose (P < 0.05).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Slovenia
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome