Video assisted thoracoscopic and open chest surgery in diagnosis and treatment of malignant pleural diseases
Parenchymal cancers of lung, breast, gastrointestinal tract and ovaries as well as lymphomas and mesotheliomas are among the most common cancer types causing malignant effusions, though almost all tumour types have been reported to cause a malignant effusion. The prognosis heavily depends on patients’ response to systemic therapy however, regardless of the causing pathology and histopathologic form, malignant pleural disease is normally associated with a poor prognosis. To date, there are not sufficient data to allow accurate predictions of survival that would facilitate decision making for managing patients with malignant pleural diseases. Interventions are directed towards drainage of the effusion and, when appropriate, concurrent or subsequent pleurodesis or establishing long-term drainage to prevent re-accumulation. The rate of re-accumulation of the pleural effusion, the patient's prognosis, and the severity of the patient’s symptoms should guide the subsequent choice of therapy. In contemporary medicine, not many cancers have managed to generate as intense debates concerning treatment, as malignant pleural mesothelioma. The relative advantages of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and any combination of the three are continuously reassessed and reconsidered, even though not always based on scientific evidence. The aim of surgery in mesothelioma may be prolongation of life, in addition to palliation of symptoms. Longer recovery periods from more extensive surgical procedures could be justified, in carefully selected patients. Surgical options include: Video assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) pleurodesis, VATS partial pleurectomy (VATS PP)—both parietal and visceral; open pleurectomy decortication (PD)—with an extended option (EPD) and extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). Current evidence implies that EPD can be performed reliably in specialised centres with good results, both in terms of mortality and survival; however, no operation has yet been shown to be beneficial in a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial.