OBJECTIVES - Patients with malignancies involving cardiac structures have limited therapeutic options and significant risk of mortality. The decision to offer radical palliative or curative resection must be made only after consideration of the substantial surgical risks. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine the feasibility and benefits of resection with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) of metastatic or non-cardiac primary malignancies extending directly into or metastasizing to the heart in select patients. Our results were examined to assess the risks and benefits of such radical therapy.
METHODS - We retrospectively reviewed patient charts and identified all patients with malignancies involving the cardiac chamber or great vessels (excluding renal carcinomas with caval extension) or with substantial cardiac compression who had undergone resection with CPB at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center between January 1995 and July 2000. We evaluated demographic data, symptomatology, tumor characteristics, and outcomes.
RESULTS - Nineteen patients (six males and 13 females; median age of patients, 47 years; age range, 17-67 years) were included in the study. Eleven patients underwent surgery with curative intent, and eight underwent surgery with palliative intent. Seventeen patients had tumors that required CPB because their tumors directly involved the heart and/or great vessels (nine sarcomas, seven epithelial carcinomas, and one unclassified), and two patients (both with sarcomas) required CPB to relieve tumor tamponade. The technique included CPB (n=5), CPB with diastolic arrest (n=12), and CPB with hypothermic circulatory arrest (n=2). Five patients underwent concomitant pneumonectomy, and three underwent lobectomy. Two patients (11%) died in the hospital after resection with palliative intent. Of the 11 patients who underwent resection with curative intent, ten (91%) had complete resections. The median time in the intensive care unit was 5.3 days (range, 0-37 days) and the median length of hospital stay was 17.2 days (range, 0-107 days). Major complications occurred in 11 patients (58%); the most common major complications were pneumonia (n=7 patients), mediastinal hematoma (n=4 patients), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (n=2 patients). The median follow-up duration was 27 months. The overall 1- and 2-year survival rates were 65 and 45%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS - Extensive thoracic tumors involving cardiac structures can be resected with acceptable risk. When resection was performed with curative intent, excellent 1- and 2-year cumulative survival rates were achieved. Although resection with palliative intent was associated with greater mortality rates, some patients survived for 1 and 2 years. The use of CPB in selected patients with thoracic malignancies should be considered, especially when complete resection can be achieved.