Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) occurs at a terminal stage of cancer, and related symptoms may considerably reduce a patient's respiratory function and quality of life. We assessed the benefit of simple intrapleural hyperthermia (SIH) during thoracoscopic exploration for MPE.
We conducted a retrospective review of 34 patients underwent thoracoscopic exploration and SIH procedures for MPE between April, 2009 and July, 2014 at our institution. One month after removal of the tube, therapeutic efficacy was evaluated, calculating response rates and recurrence rate.
In this cohort (male, 11; female, 23; average age, 54.2 ± 12.7 years), the most frequent primary cancers were breast (n = 11, 32.4 %), lung (n = 10, 29.4 %), and ovarian (n = 6, 17.6 %). Therapeutic response (ie, presence of pleural effusion) was assessed 1 month after chest tube removal, with 19 (55.9 %) showing complete response (CR), 9 (26.5 %) showing partial response (PR), and non-response (NR) seen in 6 (17.6 %). The combined (CR + PR) response rate was 82.4 %. During follow-up, there were seven instances of recurrence, requiring repeat drainage. Three- and 7-month recurrence-free rates were 86.9 and 73.9 %, respectively. No postoperative respiratory complications or fever developed. Early death within 3 months from progression of primary cancer was identified as a risk factor in patients of NR status (HR = 18.36, p = 0.043).
If thoracoscopic exploration is indicated for MPE, SIH is a safe and effective management alternative in patients whose primary malignancy is not rapidly progressing.