Postoperative complications after combined neoadjuvant treatment of lung cancer

Wyatt C. Fowler, Corey J. Langer, Walter J. Curran, Steven M. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Preoperative chemotherapy and radiation administered separately or in combination have been used in the treatment of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer. To assess the postoperative morbidity and mortality associated with aggressive neoadjuvant therapy, we reviewed the records of 13 patients who underwent resection of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer after two monthly cycles of infusional 5-fluorouracil, 640 to 800 mg/m2 (days 1 through 5); cisplatin, 20 mg/m2 (days 1 through 5); eloposide, 50 mg/m2 (days 1, 3, and 5); and concomitant radical thoracic irradiation (6,000 cGy) administered in 200-cGy daily fractions. Six patients underwent lobectomy with no mortality, whereas 7 pneumonectomies were associated with three deaths (43%). Culture-negative, diffuse pulmonary infiltrates developed 3 to 6 days after operation in 5 of 7 pneumonectomy patients and in 1 of 6 lobectomy patients. Two patients who had undergone pneumonectomy died of progressive adult respiratory distress syndrome. A third death resulted from a bronchopleural fistula that developed 30 days after pneumonectomy. Morbidity and mortality were not associated with preoperative pulmonary function test results, nutritional status, or intraoperative inspired oxygen fraction (p > 0.05 by χ2 test). Only pneumonectomy correlated with increased morbidity and mortality (p < 0.05 by χ2 test). We conclude that lobectomy may be performed safely after this combination of aggressive chemotherapy and high-dose radiation, but pneumonectomy is associated with unacceptable morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-989
Number of pages4
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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