We reviewed the clinical courses of 159 patients between February 1967 and May 1995 for the purpose of examining the survival of patients who had pulmonary resection for metastatic colorectal cancer. The cumulative survivals at 5 years and 10 years were 40.5% and 27.7%, respectively. Fifteen patients (10%) were alive more than 10 years after the thoracotomy without any evidence of recurrence. The cumulative survival at 5 years for 39 patients who had hepatic metastases before thoracotomy was 33%. There was a statistically significant difference in survival between patients with extrapulmonary metastases and those with only intrapulmonary metastases before thoracotomy. The number of pulmonary metastases and the presence of hilar or mediastinal lymph node metastases affected postthoracotomy survival. There was no significant difference in survival on the basis of sex, age, location of the primary cancer, size of the pulmonary tumors, mode of operation, or disease-free interval. Surgical treatment for pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer in selected patients, even those who had hepatic metastases before thoracotomy, might improve prognosis.
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