Surgery for T4 lung cancer invading the thoracic aorta: Do we push the limits?

Marulli G, Rendina EA, Klepetko W, Perkmann R, Zampieri D, Maurizi G, Klikovits T, Zaraca F, Venuta F, Perissinotto E, Rea F.

J Surg Oncol. 2017 Sep 18.


BACKGROUND: Few investigators have described en bloc resection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) invading the aorta. AIM OF STUDY: Analysis of outcome and prognostic factors for en bloc resections of NSCLC invading the aorta. METHODS: Thirty-five patients (27 males, 8 females; mean age 63 ± 8.6 years) were operated between 1994 and 2015 in four European Centers. HISTOLOGY: 12 (34.3%) squamous cell carcinoma, and 6 (17.1%) undifferentiated/large cell carcinoma. The site of aortic infiltration was the descending thoracic aorta in 24 (68.6%) patients, the aortic arch in 9 (25.7%), and the aortic arch and supraortic trunks in 2 (5.7%). RESULTS: Lung resection consisted of pneumonectomy in 19 (54.3%) patients and lobectomy in 16 (45.7%). Aortic resection management was undertaken by endograft positioning (37.1%), subadventitial dissection (37.1%), cardiopulmonary/aorto-aortic bypass (17.2%), and direct clamping (8.6%). A tubular graft replacement was carried out in five cases, a synthetic patch repair in 6. Mortality was 2.9%, morbidity 37.1%. Patients undergoing pneumonectomy had a significantly higher morbidity rate compared with lobectomy (52% vs 18.7%; P = 0.003), although patients managed with aortic endografting had a lower complication rate. Median overall and disease-free survival rates were 31.3 and 22.2 months, respectively. Gender and site of aortic infiltration were independent prognostic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Resection of NSCLC combined with an infiltrated aorta is a challenging procedure that can be performed with reasonable morbidity and mortality in highly selected patients.