Breast cancer complicated by pleural effusion: Patient characteristics and results of surgical management

Apffelstaedt J.P. ; Van Zyl J.A. ; Muller A.G.S. (1995)


To evaluate the efficiency of pleurodesis (PD) in the management of symptomatic malignant pleural effusion (PE) in breast cancer, we reviewed 46 patients undergoing 49 PDs. When radiotherapy was part of the initial treatment, 41% of PEs were ipsilateral to the primary, if not, 85% of PEs were ipsilateral (P <0.0075). Six percent of patients presented dyspneic with exertion, 32% during daily routine; 61% at rest. All except 1 were improved after PD; 74% had no dyspnea, 23% had exertional dyspnea. PD relieved chest pain in 4 and cough in 5 patients. With 31 Talc/Iodine PDs, 2 mortalities and 2 minor complications occurred. Of 17 tetracycline PDs, 1 was complicated by bronchopleural fistula and 1 failed. 1 Mustine PD was uncomplicated. Survival at 6, 12, and 24 months was 58%, 40%, and 13%, respectively. Primary local radiotherapy may prevent ipsilateral PE. Talc/Iodine and tetracycline PD reliably provide relief from the distressing symptoms of malignant PE.

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