Pathologic Findings and Long-Term Results After Surgical Treatment for Pulmonary Sarcomatoid Tumors: A Multicenter Analysis.

Lococo F, Rapicetta C, Cardillo G, Stefani A, Margaritora S, Leuzzi G, Rossi G, Petracca Ciavarella L, Morandi U, Facciolo F, Ricchetti T, Cesario A, Paci M.

Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Apr;103(4):1142-1150. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.08.114.


Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma (PSC) is a very rare subtype of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The aim of this study was to clarify the pathologic characteristics and long-term survival after surgical treatment in patients with PSC.


From January 2003 to December 2013, we retrospectively reviewed the clinical findings, surgical notes, and pathologic and follow-up data from 148 consecutive patients who underwent curative resection for PSC in 5 institutions. The Kaplan-Meier method, log-rank test, and Cox regression analysis were used.


Mean age and male to female ratio were 66.6 ± 9.9 years and 120:28, respectively. Surgical resection (pneumonectomy in 8 patients, bilobectomy in 132 patients, and sublobar resection in 8 patients) was complete in 142 cases (96%). At pathologic evaluation, 36 patients (24%) had stage I, 69 patients (47%) had stage II, 33 patients (22%) had stage III, and 10 patients (7%) had stage IV disease. A “biphasic tumor” (PSC with an NSCLC component) was observed in 77 patients (52%). We detected a high rate of vascular emboli in the surgical specimens (overall, 68%; 57% in pathologic stage I tumors), whereas lymphatic emboli were found in 30% of cases (5% of pathologic stage I tumors). Overall median and 5-year long-term survival (LTS) was 19 months and 12.6% (LTS, 16.3% in pathologic stage I), respectively. Distant recurrences frequently occurred after surgical treatment (81%), even in pathologic stage I tumors that underwent R0 resection (62%). Multivariable survival analysis identified R+ resection (hazard ratio [HR],12.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.67-41.28; p < 0.0001), advanced pathologic stage (HR, 5.75; 95% CI, 2.55-12.98; p < 0.0001), and the presence of vascular emboli (HR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.05-2.67; p = 0.0327) as independent negative prognostic factors.


PSCs have very aggressive behavior and high metastatic potential even in early stages. R+ resection, pathologic TNM status, and the presence of vascular emboli are independent prognostic factors.